the girl and the dog
3 months before the exhibition, I lost my 15 years old dog named ‘Sonny’ with whom I grew up together. For me, it was a great loss. Not being able to hold him in my arms anymore was a great void that I could not fill with anything else. Collecting and looking deeper at these daguerreotypes in which little girls was depicted together with their dogs was one way for me to incorporate my loss as well as to mourn. Jacques Derrida's paradoxical understanding of mourning is relevant to consider in relation to my attempt of keeping my loss:
"One cannot complete one’s mourning, because one wants to keep what one has lost, but in order to complete mourning, one must lose it. Mourning is fidelity because it is an attempt to keep the lost object; it is also infidelity because in order to complete its work of mourning one must lose its lost object." Because of the impossibility of completion of its work, Derrida prefers to talk about ‘semi-mourning’ not in the sense of loss, but to mean the remaining thing which comes between fidelity and infidelity.
In the images I used, although the little girls were able to stand still, of course the dogs weren’t and if you look closely, you can see the motion blur in dogs which turns them into fluffy figures. For me, this technological shortage turned into a paradox and a photographic figure of speech about not knowing how to lose and keep my dog at the same time.
'The Girl and the Dog' is a commissioned work for the group exhibition titled ‘Latest Version’ that took place in Daire Gallery, Istanbul in May 2015. The exhibition featured the works of Selçuk Artut, Hayal İncedoğan, Ozan Türkkan and Cemre Yeşil, who produced different works that are relevant to theme of technology and development as a narrative in artistic production. The concept of technology has always a tacit implication of the notions that tomorrow will be different than today, we will never come to a standstill, and there will always be a further point waiting to be reached for human kind. 'The Girl and the Dog’ series revisited the photographic technology of early 19th century; Daguerreotypes — the first publicly announced photographic process, and for nearly twenty years, it was the one most commonly used. However, direct positive images were produced in the camera on mirror-like silver plate which didn’t allow the image to be reproduced from a negative and the exposure time needed for a daguerrotype portrait was relatively long. David Hockney while questioning the relationship between photography and reality even in the 21st century, argues that photography never reflects reality and the only situation where photography could reflect reality was the early period photographs with long exposure times. Because people were really standing still as a performative act and the continuity of the gesture was needed in order to obtain a sharply focused photograph.