Fine Art Photography Daily

Hugo Passarello Luna: Nostalgia for Mud

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

“No one – apart from a certain adventurer dreamt by Wells – has discovered the art of living in the future or the past. There is no undertaking that doesn’t belong to its time.” – Jorge Luis Borges. Prologue to Luna de enfrent

History can be a slippery slope between truth and memory. Argentinean photographer Hugo Passarello Luna examines this notion with his new project, Nostalgie de la boue (nostalgia for mud).  Using the Kodak Vest Pocket camera from 1912, widely used by soldiers and officers during WWI, for almost two years Hugo followed several groups of French re-enactors who recreate WWI combats in real battlegrounds around France. He discovered that most amateur photos in national archives were taken using the Vest Pocket, also called “the soldiers Kodak”. The photographs explore memory, image making and WWI in France, a century after the end of the conflict, but he also seeks to understand how their quest for authenticity plays a role in the collective memory of a country that witnessed so many gruesome battles. As he states, “this idealized past is reassuring opposite a confusing present”.

This project will be seen at the Pompidou Center, in the Passion Observatory sessions, on Decemeber 14th at 7pm (Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris), then exhibited at the Cite Universitaire (University City) from January 15th to February 1st. 27A Boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris.

Hugo Passarello Luna, freelance Argentinean photojournalist based in Paris. His work has been published in The New York Times, Liberation, La Croix, Newsweek en Español, Soho Revista, Discover magazine, Der Spiegel Online, Le Figaro Magazine, among other media. He teaches photojournalism at Sciences Po Paris Ecole du Journalisme, Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, and L’Ecole W of CFJ. His recent work Nostalgie de la boue, was exhibited in Paris, presented at Pompidou Museum of Modern Art (L’Observatoire des Passions). He has also covered the conflict in Irak with ISIS and is currently working on long term photography projects in Latin America. You can find more of his work on his website: www.hugopassarello.com

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

Nostalgie de la boue (Nostalgie for mud)

Using a photo camera from the First World War, Nostalgie de la boue explores the reenactment of collective memory in France, 100 years after the end of the conflict. For some it is an idealised past, more reassuring than the present.

For over almost two years I travelled through France photographing dozens of World War I reenactments. The photos were taken with a Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “the soldier’s Kodak” one of the most widely used cameras during the war.

The images of Nostalgie de la boue, like the historical reenactments they portray, are carved in the present. They function as a mirror to our present doubts, desires, fears and frustrations. We learn more about our present than the past.

When faced with an uncertain future and a confusing present, the past can work as a refuge to revitalize in, where the stakes are straightforward. Playing the role of a past hero can provide meaning in our daily life.

Collective memory is a never ending process of rewriting. In a century from now, who knows what will be reenacted? – Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

Jeremy and Aude, a young couple and reenactors, go to fetch food with a WWI cart in the streets of Saint Mihiel, a French village retaken from the Germans in September 1918 by American forces, near Verdun. Photo taken a hundred years after, in September 2018, with a century old Kodak Vest Pocket.

©Hugo Passarello Luna, Jeremy and Aude, a young couple and reenactors, go to fetch food with a WWI cart in the streets of Saint Mihiel, a French village retaken from the Germans in September 1918 by American forces, near Verdun. Photo taken a hundred years after, in September 2018, with a century old Kodak Vest Pocket.

Nostalgie de la boue

©Hugo Passarello Luna

Nostalgie de la boue

©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

Two nurses, a grandmother and her grandchild, walk around the battlefield looking for reenactors pretending to be wounded in Noyon, France, April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

©Hugo Passarello Luna, Two nurses, a grandmother and her grandchild, walk around the battlefield looking for reenactors pretending to be wounded in Noyon, France, April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

French WWI reenactors attempt to contain a German attack of the hill Mt Renaud, Noyon, France, the same hill defended by real soldiers one hundred years before, April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, a camera used during WWI. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

©Hugo Passarello Luna, French WWI reenactors attempt to contain a German attack of the hill Mt Renaud, Noyon, France, the same hill defended by real soldiers one hundred years before, April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, a camera used during WWI. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

Two reenactors rest after a battle at the Mont Renaud’s Chapel in Noyon, France, destroyed during the real battle in WWI, a hundred years before April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

©Hugo Passarello Luna, Two reenactors rest after a battle at the Mont Renaud’s Chapel in Noyon, France, destroyed during the real battle in WWI, a hundred years before April 2018. Photo taken with the Kodak Vest Pocket, also known as “The Soldier’s Kodak”, a camera largely used by combatants during WWI. The Vest Pocket produced a great deal of the amateur archival images of the conflict we have today. The image is part of the series “Nostalgie de la boue” (Nostalgia for Mud), a work in progress about memory a century after the end of the Great War.

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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©Hugo Passarello Luna

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