Evacuation by Ruth Penn

"Perhaps, all that I wrote in my description of the photos, connects to my life. I devoted my adult life to children with special needs and to Universally Designing their learning and teaching environment, so that they may fulfill their goals, dreams, wishes and aspirations. I dream of Phoenixes rising from the sand and coming alive in vivid colors."

This series as all about alienation, hellish, rough, broken reality. We live in a precarious era. The world as we have known it is shattered before our eyes. We cannot touch, hug, embrace, kiss or fondle our beloved children, grandchildren, parents, close friends... we are required to alienate ourselves from all those we love...our world is a "long distance" world now. We are directed to cover our mouths and noses, thus cutting off the fresh breeze, the wonderful or the awful smells... our faces do not show our emotions as they are covered by masks to avoid the dangerous covid-19 virus...

  • Evacuation 1 by Ruth Penn
  • Evacuation 2 by Ruth Penn
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I am surrounded by alienation, misery and broken reality. The only hope out there through the fog of reality is the needle that will deliver the vaccination into our gasping yet hopeful souls.

It seems that it would be very easy to deliver that feeling in black and white or with sepia. 

However...

Misery can be colorful. 

Poverty can be depicted in full colorsl. 

Alienation can be colorful.

Gloom and sadness can be painted in bright colors.

I have learned that in my travels around the world (yes, before covid-19 era...) Broken reality can be vividly colored. It does not have to be black, gray and white, nor sepia. I saw gloriously painted crumbling houses, buildings or ancient ruins of palaces. I saw streets sinking in mud and sewer, scattered stones all around, crumbling stone fences, rusty metal fences; all adorned in fantastic colors.

This series is about alienated, ominous. hellish, rough, broken reality. It is not presented in sepia, nor in black and white. It is mainly fully colored.

Just as life is.

  • Evacuation 7 by Ruth Penn
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  • Evacuation 7 by Ruth Penn

I am fascinated by the dark side of life. I am fascinated by decaying objects, by very old people, by ruins. 

In my childhood I fancied being an archeologist, re-erecting ancient, crumbling ruins into their original glory. As a child I was utterly surprised to find out that broken Terra Cotta statues or jugs where once vividly colored by their makers. When I grew up I travelled the world only to realize that ancient ruins were once colorful and full of life. 

So I am combining ruins with color. The objects of my photos in this series are actually ruined, broken, rough, hellish and ominous. However, they are still mostly vividly colored.

Evacuating a home or an office is not an easy process. The rooms that are now crumbling, dirty and untidy were once the object of the resident's love and aspiration. That person adorned the walls, the rooms, the doors and the windows: here a lovely plant, there some beautiful paintings on the walls, a comfortable rug or silky carpeting...the resident chose the furniture carefully, investing much thought as of their functionality, appeal, colors...The resident chose lamps and lampshades, paint or wall paper over the walls... The resident tried really hard to keep the home or office spotlessly clean...

  • Evacuation 14 by Ruth Penn
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But then came the years of usage, wear and tear: not paying attention here, not paying attention there... stains emerge on the carpet which is still very colorful, the paint starts to peel from the wall, scratches appear on the furniture, lamps break...

Thus begins the process of slow, gradual decay. The colors are still there. The paintings that are on the walls are still gorgeous. But the environment crumbles around the seams. 

Evacuation can be painful. It can also be a relief. whatever it is, it is morbid. 

The rough atmosphere of the evacuated rooms is in full contrast to the joyful colors all around. The scattered objects all around where once patiently placed in their proper place. Now chaos has taken over. The person who dwelled there is packing his former life, with a bit of despair in his eyes, his back a little bended from the weight of the past and of the boxes.

 


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