Grandmothers and Garden of Eden: the vanities of photographer Elena Subach
Ukrainian photographer Elena Subach illustrates, in her series Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven, the notion of “grandmothering”. Through this anthropological concept which reveals the importance of matriarchs in the evolution of the human species (whose menopause would be physiological proof of their gargantuan achievements), Elena Subach captures, under the figure of grandmothers, vanities of contemporary Ukraine.
“The times have changed globally and very quickly, and it seems this causes acute feeling of helplessness among older people. They can’t share their accumulated wisdom, they seek for solace in religion. Their grandchildren would more likely search for answers on the Internet than ask them, and the gap between generations is just increasing.” she explains to It’s Nice That.
In these portraits inspired by proto-renaissance paintings, the Ukrainian grandmothers open a personal window on their routine and their faith. Working with the energy of the flash, Elena Subach flattened her images to bring them closer to the pictorial aesthetic. Symbolism also plays a key role in the composition, and makes the link between the history of art and the religious beliefs of these women. The omnipresence of blue recalls the infinity of the sky while the red illustrates the victory of life over death.
By photographing her models in these Gardens of Eden, where a buffet full of Ukrainian dishes awaits them, Elena Subach creates vanities of this generation of forgotten, recalling the ephemeral nature of life and the inevitability of death.
Images: © Elena Subach, Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven series
Artist’s website: www.elenasubach.com