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The idea I wanted to explore was that of memory. What happens to the deceased when those physical markers erected to keep their memory alive disappear?

The Stories Alive Inside—Magdalen Paintings from the Soul

Many of the gravestones I saw had been intentionally desecrated by looters and passersby, which, I think, speaks to our decaying sense of humanity. Q: Are all your pictures in the Chasm of the Soul series of cemetery headstones that originally had photographs on them and do you think there is any irony in photographing desecrated photographic images to preserve the memory of their obliteration?

A: Yes, there is lots of irony there. The irony is what compelled me to take the photographs. When I first started taking the images, I included the epigraph of the gravestone within the frame, but then I noticed the broken glass and the deteriorated condition of the photographs. Its violence struck me since I realized most of the broken glass was due to vandalism.

So, I thought this violence should be a critical element of the photographs and focused in on just the desecrated photos, after which my other thoughts on memory and the loss of it came. Q: Do you think there is any difference between those images that show traces of the original gravestone images and the ones where there is only broken glass remaining and do you think it is necessary to view the whole series to get the message?

A: Even in the images that seem like they are only of glass, if you look closely, you will notice a faint outline of a person. What ties together all your works, which are very different in subjects and forms? A: I suppose the one thing that ties the works together for me is that they are all photographs I have taken while living here in Ethiopia. I want my work to help record the historical narrative of my country.

For me, taking photographs is like writing down a story or a history, which is very important. Q: I suppose this has to be understood in connection with the idea of the loss of cultural memory?

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Was this a deliberate effect and what message do you think the darkness and indistinct quality of some of these images convey about the living conditions of these women? A: I wanted to portray the women and their lives as I experienced it. So since the room was dark, I shot it as if it were a dark room. Although the women live in a dark reality it not a hopeless one, so I hope the images convey that the women deserve better, that they are young, able-bodied and have potential. Do you agree, and can you comment on how these images affect you and people who have commented on these images?

A: Yes I agree, although they are not in a situation that makes me pity them, which is sometimes the reaction some people have to the images. It is hard to answer your question because I think of it in the reverse: it is not the images that affect me, but rather, what I saw affected me and then I made the images. And what I saw is what shows up in the photos: the darkness, the victimization of the women, etc.

I did not take these images to feel sorry for the women, but to show that they deserve much more than what they are surrounded by. These are young women who are capable of working, creating, growing, but for a number of reasons ended up where they are.

The Stories Alive Inside—Magdalen Paintings from the Soul

Comments 3. Dear, I am so proud and happy to see you excel…. I love how these shots tell the story…both the stories, I mean even the one inside the photographer.. I love the broken glass portrait serie. Who are we as human beings? What is our purpose?


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Ramblings From A Soul. Life and its mysteries are the subject of Peggy Woods' profound and thoughtful poetry collection, Life and its mysteries are the subject of Peggy Woods' profound and thoughtful poetry collection, Ramblings From a Soul. Beautifully written and nuanced, Ramblings From a Soul explores the ways we connect and don't connect , even as it urges us Samara's Story. Join the author as she travels back over two thousand years to visit with a Join the author as she travels back over two thousand years to visit with a miraculous woman in the holy land. Open the door and walk into a world where people are more connected to the land, to nature, and Herb graduated from high school, has a class A driver's license, and is an operating Herb graduated from high school, has a class A driver's license, and is an operating engineer.

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