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Photography book review: Still Here, By Lydia Goldblatt


In Still Here, Lydia Goldblatt immerses her intimate photographs in sublime extremes of light and shade, tracing the fleeting shadow of personal existence on to enduring human narratives.

In an elegiac sequence of 45 prints, she records precious moments in three years of the lives of her elderly parents. Marked with tenderness, her work offers a concentrated meditation on mortality, time, love and loss, in which corporeal scrutiny courts metaphysical wonder. The images are often limited to a single detail: a timepiece abandoned on a shelf, a closed eyelid, the sunlit form of a bee.

“Wedding Ring”, for example, features just the legs and hand of the artist’s mother, standing naked in the bathtub. The silvery circlet seems to weigh heavy on her. “Red Shoes” (above) is a similarly spare image. In “Hinterland”, Goldblatt’s father is depicted at the literal edge of his physical form, a means of searching for the space between the physical and metaphysical.

Goldblatt gives witness to the ephemerality of life, combining portraits of her parents with metaphorical images that speak to the shifting nature of time.