Mona Kuhn featured on Ceci n'est pas
"The yearly journey that brings me back to my little house in a remote corner of La Lande near Bordeaux takes some effort: twenty-six hours of flying and driving across nine time zones to finally arrive at the place where distance stops and time stands still. It is a dear home to me, my extended family, and many friends. There is no electricity, but a collection of oil lamps. The house is lacking in almost everything material, yet it is abundant in spirit and shows marks of moments well lived. There is something intoxicating about being in a place where everything is stripped down to simple life. As I step into this house, I enter a parallel reality that unravels and exists only for a few months of the year. We cook and gather around the table. We speak plainly together of ourselves, and it feels as though these moments we have shared over the years are strung together into a braid of tales. As the night arrives, we are surrounded by the dark silhouettes of pine trees and the sensual play of wind on foliage. The smell of resin mixes with the verbena in our tea. The days fill up with a sense of abandon, as if life in between never mattered.
In a tiny room with red patterned fabric and a chair, I am like a small town photographer before a simple stage. My friends come and sit, and I make a portrait of each in the bare light that comes through the double doors, which open to the outside where I stand. It is a rather classic approach to the portrait, which I feel is in sympathy with the plainness and simplicity of the place. I don't mention how my subjects should pose. I prefer to let them find their own positions and body language, allowing the method of expression toseek its own paths. Over recent years, I have photographed my visitors - friends who are closest to me, sometimes friends of friends, who come to stay for a while or at times just for a few moments - just like that, in the same room with the same chair. The photographs are similar to bread crumbs that I throw on the path to help me memorize a way back to this place and these emotions."