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The magazine of the photo-essay
May 2017 issue
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Absence of Being
by Susan Burnstine
A plane disappears into the clouds. We can’t see it, hear it or touch it, but we know it’s there. Our senses can give us no tangible evidence it continues to exist. But still, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s there. We suspend limitations of our senses, and believe. When a person dies, do they simply cease to exist because they no longer have a physical presence? Or do they remain with us through the remnants of the lives they lived? When a building is razed, is it truly obliterated, or does its imprint remain in the collective unconscious? This ongoing series explores how the past remains with us, if only in shadows. These images capture fleeting memories, spotted from the corner of an eye that vanish the moment we turn to really look. And yet they remain, for the imprint remains with us. We are living in the present, but the past reminds us that it is part of us, too, as is the future, and we of them.  With this body of work as with my former series, I captured these visions entirely in-camera using a collection of hand- made film cameras and lenses that are frequently unpredictable and technically challenging. The cameras are primarily made out of plastic, vintage camera parts and random household objects and the single element lenses are molded out of plastic and rubber. Learning to overcome their extensive limitations has required me to rely on instinct and intuition – the same tools that are key when trusting in the unseen.
The last goodbye.
As above so below.
Until the sky fades away.
Impasse.
As darkness meets the day.
Across the line.
Through the cracks.
Hubbard Wells 9.18am.
Michgan and Monroe 6.42am.
Around the bend.
Times Square 8.02am.
Beyond the East River.
East Broadway 7.02am.
Golden Gate Bridge 5.58am.
Evidence.
Breakwater light.
Last light Abiquiu.
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