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The Mourners, 2011

by Georgia Metaxas

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 Finalist

The Mourners, 2011

'The Mourners' is a series of portraits documenting the ritual of wearing black as a signifier of perpetual mourning. In remembrance of those they have lost, all that sit for a portrait wear black daily, for the rest of their lives. The controlled environment of a travelling studio replaces existing backdrops of nursing homes and living rooms. Stripped back to the point where only the faintest trace of the sitter's surroundings remains, the portrait brings the viewer to the periphery of an ultimately private space. Deflecting the unflinching eye of the camera with an averted gaze, the women are absorbed by the void that is black.