The brain is connected to the heart and the eye – it’s all visualisation, all of it. (Z.S.)
So, long story short, I did this photo project called ‘Pictures Of You’, where I tried and described people using photographs instead of words.
First I shortlisted some people I see, talk to, go out, drink and eat with on a daily basis. People I laugh with, people I like, and people I love.
Then I made a mental list of things I know about each of them, and I matched each entry with one or more photos I’ve taken (mostly, though not exclusively, in Brno or in the Czech Republic), which, in my view, rendered that specific feature of that person’s ‘persona’.
Lastly, for each person I made a booklet which included the dedicated photos (normally five, with, again, a few exceptions) and captions, and I gave it to its legitimate recipient while the two of us sat on a bench and shared a drink I’d bought specially and brought along.
The idea sprang to mind out of the blue on 29 September, during a (highly uncomfortable) bus journey to Český Krumlov. I don’t know how or why it was there, but it made sense, so I thought I could make it happen.
It took me about three weeks to get hold of the raw materials (paper, cardboard, markers and key rings), have the photos printed, put the booklets together, and hand them over.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had meetups with 10 people, sat on 10 different benches, drunk 9 different drinks (one of the people wasn’t thirsty), used 18 plastic cups (I looked for paper cups, but the supermarket only had plastic cups, too bad), and watched the (very different, in some cases) reactions of 10 people when they received their respective booklets. I loved every second of it. And I smiled a lot.
I believe at first this whole thing was only an attempt at doing something artsy that also had to do with photography. As I cut squares of cardboard and taped the photos to the pages, though, I thought maybe there was something else behind it. Maybe I wanted to keep busy so I wouldn’t think too much. Maybe I was curious to see if and to what extent I’ve got to know (some of) the people involved. Or maybe I wanted to see whether I could create something, and then give it away for the sake of giving, no strings or expectations attached. We think we’re good at it, but oh, are we? I still don’t know, but I’ve enjoyed working on this project immensely.
As I’ve already said to the people involved: Bobby, David, Cube, Vero, Leo, Zobni, Simone, Ken, Anto, Senior – I wanted to make something out of nothing, and you helped me make it happen.
I’ve already thanked you for that, but I’m saying thank you again. Some things sometimes you want and need to say twice and, surprisingly, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Here follows a sample of the ‘Pictures Of You’ booklets in their final version.