In January 2020, at the intersection of mega fires and pandemic time, papa lost his love of 23 years. My brother had come from Berlin; we tried to hold him as we travelled through the vast valleys of grief. We made a lot of polaroids together in this time of loss, wanting to witness and make material the brutal edges of love’s exit wound.
Many times each day and every day, we made those moments for the camera. The days were ceremonial; they pivoted around ritual. Papa had many requests for pictures. In the evening we would spread them across the kitchen counter, confronting what we could see and what was missing. Confronting also grief’s slippery façade, “it doesn’t only look sad” papa would remark and ask me to make a picture of him laughing wildly into ocean air, pushing his despair with his entire body up up up into the blue of sky. “Die Trauer hat tausend Gesichter” – grief has a thousand faces.
The processes of polaroiding first became significant, then they became foundational. They were a way to navigate. Mazes is a work of love, performing mourning and ritual grief.