Saturday, February 18, 2012

Anthologia Palatina

Wilhelm von Gloeden. Italien Aufnahmen
Published as a postcard by Adolph Engel, Berlin, 1905
(my collection)

"Do not hide your love, Philocrates. The god himself
Is able to trample on my heart.
But give me joy by giving me kisses. A time will come
When you too will ask for these favors from others"

(Strato, Anthologia Palatina, XII, 16)

"If you boast of your beauty, know that the rose also blooms,
But suddenly withers and is thrown out with the refuse.
For flower and beauty are of equal duration.
Envious time causes them to wither together"

(Strato, Anthologia Palatina, XII, 234)

"Perhaps someone in the future, on hearing these my trifles,
Will think that all this suffering in love was my own.
But I inscribe letters for many other boy-lovers,
Since this gift some god granted to me"

(Strato, Anthologia Palatina, XII, 258)

Translations from: Thomas K. Hubbard
Homosexuality in Greece and Rome.
A Textbook of Basic Documents
University of California Press
Berkeley - Los Angeles, 2003

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Greek Tragedy

In the background, there are just rocks and stones, the most inhuman background for a fully human tragedy...

On the ground, there is just sand, nothing else, just sand, flying through human fingers as the time flies away... Sand is the only possible ground for a human tragedy...

As in all Greek tragedies, there is anger and madness, there is love and hate, there is tenderness and despair, there is the will to kill, the desire to caress, there is an older one, a younger one...

Fear in your eyes, fear and a prayer in your eyes, and a promiss, an oath, never more, for eternity, I will be yours, I will be your loved one, I never betrayed, never...

But he does not believe him, he want to kill him, he is ready, he want to kill him, such a betrayal, he loved him so much, they were so close, they were brothers in love, they shared so much, warmth and breathe....

No, not now, my brother, my lover, don't kill me now... I love you so much, we shared so much, warmth and breathe... Don't forget our love, what we shared, the warmth of my body, my youth, my love... No, no, my brother, my lover, don't kill me now, I will be yours for ever... I want a kiss from you, not a blow...

I can hear Wilhelm von Gloeden's instructions to his favorite models... I can hear his voice, while he is carefully creating the stage set-up of this photograph... These two Taormina lads forgot they were shepherds, young peasants, fishermen... They forgot their time, the last years of the XIXth century...

They became heroes from a remote past, Greek heroes, playing the intemporal game of love and hate, of life and death.

I have never seen this von Gloeden's photograph in any of the modern books devoted to his art... I have not seen it in the web databases...

So it seems this photograph is pretty rare... It was probably in some private collection, and it was saved from the destruction of von Gloeden's photographic plates, during the fascist rule in Italy.

This beautiful and expressive photograph is now in my collection.

I love it very much...

While I look at it, I can hear the voices, the music of a very old, of a very in temporal Greek tragedy...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Imago lucis opera expressa

"La photo est littéralement une émanation du référent. D'un corps réel, qui était là, sont parties des radiations qui viennent me toucher, moi qui suis ici; peu importe la durée de la transmission; la photo de l'être disparu vient me toucher comme les rayons différés d'une étoile. Une sorte de lien ombilical relie le corps de la chose photographiée à mon regard: la lumière, quoi qu'impalpable, est bien ici un milieu charnel, une peau que je partage avec celui ou celle qui a été photographié.

Il paraît qu'en latin "photographie" se dirait: "imago lucis opera expressa"; c'est-à-dire : image révélée, "sortie", "montée", "exprimée" (comme le jus d'un citron) par l'action de la lumière. Et si la Photographie appartenait à un monde qui ait encore quelque sensibilité au mythe, on ne manquerait pas d'exulter devant la richesse du symbole: le corps aimé est immortalisé par la médiation d'un métal précieux, l'argent (monument et luxe); à quoi on ajouterait l'idée que ce métal, comme tous les métaux de l'Alchimie, est vivant".

Roland Barthes, La Chambre claire. Note sur la Photographie, Paris, Cahiers du Cinéma, Gallimard, Seuil, 1980, p. 126-127.