Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Robert Olsson Photography on Display at Kent Public Library

Departure Project: Saying Goodbye 

Hit-and-run, knocked unconsciousness, reawakening to nearby stains of blood. Broken this and that. I now carry the
vulnerability of modern travel with me; the fragility of living.

Ostensibly, this is a photo-documentary, a visual study of deeds made by those in grief. How we deal with the loss
of loved ones is what this touches on. Survivors first go to the departure sites in an attempt to understand what
happened, then return to assemble shrines bringing personal items, artifacts and materials. Some sites are simple
markers. Some places are more elaborately crafted than others. I selected those which contained remnants from the lost
individuals’ lives. 

They represent and define how the departed were remembered. They include objects which celebrated the deceased‘s
identity, articles left as associations to the departed. There is a vague connection between the eff ects left and how they
make the location sacred. Some sites show participation from multiple parties. Some show the victim’s service. Some
capture the heartbreaking despair of favorite stuff ed animals on a telephone pole where a young child was killed.

We have an expectation that our people will always be there for us, yet now they’re suddenly gone. What is the narrative of these events? How did this happen? What were they doing? What were they thinking at that last moment? How much did they suffer? We do or don’t know who they were. We don’t know who testified for their angels, leaving visible fragments of expressions. A tapestry wrestling with our inadequacy to prevent the loss of one of our own; a manifestation of our need for resolution. I am reminded of my impermanence and am lead to more unanswered

Aside from a cautionary tale, what matters? The shrines represent how much time I have left. For others, perhaps they serve as a catharsis, they recognize positive eff orts of erecting crudely fashioned arrays of grief. Friends, family, devastated by their loss, return to the place where life became death. We do know this as a place of departure. The profound wish of survivors is to have their losses immortalized. They stand here at this place unable to be with their beloved. They go to the place where they feel their loss the strongest. They sense the energy gone of persons no longer
present, not knowing what is their loss or the loss of the departed.

The selections of Departure Project is sponsored by the Friends of the Kent Public Library. Special thanks to the Kent Public Library for providing a venue for display of these images. 

©2017–2018 Robert Olssonrobertolssonphotography.com