s1xte6n, by Paul Mușescu

What can photography be used for ? Paul’s response is particularly successful. This medium was able to restore some meaning to his existence and, above all, enabled him to communicate. Never photography has much deserved its name as “medium”. Difficult childhood, with a few problems, Paul wandered into the wrong direction. Admittedly, both in childhood and in adolescence, the temptations are many. Fortunately for him, from the depth of his depression, the turning point came: he had to resume his life; an old film camera will be the perfect tool. This is how Paul tells his story in the introduction of the book. We have not yet discovered the photographs, it will come in a few pages …

Through photography, Paul finds his way. He finally manages to move on, but more specifically, to communicate without the use of violence. His gaze is poetic and the world around him is changing, it is no more hostile; but his photos remain black, dense, loaded with emotions. We feel some anger that emerges, but it is not turned anymore against its author, it is magnified. Thus we follow Paul in his daily life. He claims us his life, he demonstrates these sixteen years of existence. These photos are a compilation or, rather a emotional view of the author : one could speak of state of mind.

The book is a long sad poetry as chanted on an uncertain (even unprecise due to the beautiful youth) rhythm. If we see scenes of joy, dark shadows lurk yet, ready to snap up the young man to his past. These shadows become real, sometimes, and take the appearance of aggressive dogs, dark figures or blurred faces. Paul takes us with him to find his way, the tempo is slow, a photo every two pages, always on the right, facing a blank page, like to be conscious every time of what is happening; to let the image be printed on our retina. One hesitates to move forward, we slowly follow the mood of Paul, crossing his fears and doubts, but also his hopes. Throughout the book the horizons are blocked, we look more to the ground than in the air. The space is too small for his own development. Yet the book ends with birds flying above a roof. The cathartic exercise has paid off and allowed him to finally to take off as all teenagers have to do; the path to adulthood !

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Arrived at the end of the book, one discovers torn pages. It is then for us to imagine the gap. A hidden history, erased, abandoned. It remains hidden sides in Paul story, things he does not reveal to us, but isn’t it the case for all of us? This is what makes us human and makes us feel some empathy for each other. Well, this is what makes the story of Paul so moving. We close the book on sticks for counting the days of the end of a virtual confinement: the pain is over, Paul can now move forward.

In conclusion, this book is from a simple facture, but is really effective. The pictures are very beautiful and it exudes a certain emotion. With some generosity, Paul shares with us his feelings, he tells us his moods. Whether we love or not, it is devilishly daring, at sixteen to show oneself so honestly, and for that also, this book is great! I would love to see those photographs printed large in a gallery. I should also mention Cristian Bassa, a Romanian photographer who has been the supporter of this work and who did the edit / design of the book, and wrote the afterword.

Limited signed first edition of 100 copies, hardcover book 21x21cm, 80 Pages black and white photos (rather black than white).

More info : http://cargocollective.com/PaulMusescu

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