What is love?
With this naïve question in mind, Laura Lafon travelled around the dry mountains of Kurdistan. She embarks on her journey with an every-day lover, Martin Gallone. Not a partner, no, but a kind of harmony, a shared passion for photography.
Before they know it they find themselves faced with cultural prohibitions, public space, the non-mixing of genders, tedious traditions. And one endless question: why aren’t you married? Adrenaline sweeps them up and so they put on a show, using their own bodies to update these differences, recreating forbidden and dangerous situations the Kurdish people told them.
Life is so cheap in this part of the world.
Without doubt the characters they met inevitably determined a certain image of the land, the Kurdistan of the revolutionaries lacking reality with its badly digested utopias and anarchistic cafés where the taboos persevere in spite of the speeches. Going to Kurdistan was wondering how the Kurdish people, known for their revolutionary struggle and especially egalitarian gender position, envisage love and how the territory marked by conservatism and strong patriarchal relations can tolerate these ideals of freedom. They are surprised to fall in love, become the icon of the free couple and naively redefine the foundations of this Western fantasy.
This work journeys through the gap between the speeches and the reality; the ideal and the impossibility to exist, in both Kurdish society and their brand-new couple. The images, therefore, allow us to fill this void. To draw out various subjectivity, the artist confronts her own identity with the realities which she meets. It is the tale which is more than a simple documentary, an absurd tale which reveals love in Kurdistan, a country at war with itself for existence.
Postface written by Philippe Azoury
The book will be presented at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016.