Marié Nobematsu-Le Gassic
Looking Around When I'm Not Home
Photographed along Wannsee & Liese-Park, Berlin. Winter, 2020
Lilu. Berlin, 2021
Rachel. Berlin, 2019
Rachel. Berlin/Boston, 2019-2020
Usen. New York, 2019
Aiko. Featured in Tagesspiegel, 22 August 2020
Donald. Tokyo 2019 & Berlin 2020
The soft focus of elsewhere is like cotton candy. A sugary treat for childhood or an abstract dessert course in a Michelin-star restaurant. One past, the other out of reach. Cotton candy—invented as “fairy floss”—was never meant to be what it seemed and yet it suggested the possibility of a world undiscovered. It kept me hopeful. The way that fairy houses do.
But once you learn that a cloud is just a visible mass of liquid droplets and that liquified spun sugar is what makes the ephemeral edible weightlessness before you, then, with disappointment in our meteorology, the mirage of elsewhere begins to emerge.
From the few times I was allowed cotton candy as a child, I remember not its airy sweetness—twilight hues—but its courseness on my tongue. Sugar granules revealed themselves like sand in the ripped lining of my pocket, away from the playground or the shoreline where they were home. A day at the beach when we were still a family of three. The grit of something once sweet. When I bite my lip on the nauseous drive home, I taste salt.
Images that are precisely granular are the ones I will always struggle to dissolve.
One. Lake Water
It was mid-summer on campus. By then, Ralu and the boy from the library had made a habit of breaking the northeastern heat with a swim. The short ride to the edge of town gave them something to look forward to in the otherwise unchanging swelter.
Early one evening Ralu and the boy speed down the last hill to arrive at the lake. They walk their bikes to the dock where the grey boathouse with its diagonal white stripe hovers at the water’s edge. The lake opens up to them left and right, reflecting the pink and orange mellowing of the day’s clear sky.
In the shallows where the dock meets the water, Ralu and the boy see the silhouette of a craning mechanism. Police cars are gathered not far from where yellow tape has been drawn. The mechanism is pulling something out of the water. It’s bloated, blue and purple, yet distinguishable enough: a young man’s figure.
Most lakes we swim in probably have an undiscovered body or two. I can’t help but wonder, if the water erodes the body, what does the body do to the water? What difference is there in a dead body and a living body in water – a dead body and a living body of water?
Ralu and the boy turn to push their bikes up the hill. The heat is heavier. One of them stops to look back and weighs the silence of their ride back to campus. At the residence they have sex because what else is there to do. The boy goes in and out of rhythm. Hard and soft and not and soft again. Slouched and awkward, something is lost between them. The girl and Aiden never see each other after that.
A chapter from a forthcoming book of photographs and essays, Goodbye to All That, on death in New York & other cities.
Untitled (For Now)
on-going notes from lockdown
Town of Mariposa • CÉLINE
Butterflies on the Soccer Field • Rachel in Miu Miu