Love comes and leaves our lives. An ecstasy fuelled with euphoria and desire, yet also pain and grief. It is something so personal and hard to understand. However, we take the risk of love while knowing we can get scarred for life…
The experience of love is explored by the Belgian photographer Dinaya Waeyaert in her latest monograph Come Closer (published by Dienacht). The title presents an intimate conversation between two lovers – Dinaya & Paola. One, obsessively photographing, the other writing notes. Dinaya met Paola at a garden party one night in Ghent and from that moment onward they became inseparable. Come Closer, a phrase that was chosen for the title, is something that Paola always whispers to Dinaya’s ear in different situations. A pair of words that tend to stick.
Already the cover itself is deeply intimate. It presents the author’s contact sheets, one begins to follow a certain sequence, immersing the viewer into the narrative straight from the start. The title is hand-written by the photographer, evoking a diaristic feel. Black and white and colour analogue images mirror the lovers’ daily encounters, providing a window to their inner world. These mundane, daily life moments are interlaced with written excerpts from Paola. Loving, angry and apologetic at the same time, they manage to capture the feelings that are undeniably part of any relationship. The notes are presented as inserts, printed on post it notes or a handkerchief. Their tactility and relatability turn them into objects of fetish soaked in nostalgia.
Come Closer, shows the development of the two women’s relationship. Through the passage of time, we observe both their highs and lows. There also seems to be a growing tension in the book, an increasing discomfort in Paola’s gaze as at some point, she became fed up with being constantly photographed. It is clear that Paola became Dinaya’s muse, trying to capture every moment of their connection. They are evolving and growing together, and this process is sincere, both good and bad.
When browsing through the book, it reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote he wrote in This Side of Paradise: “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” Indeed, is there a way out? And do we eventually want that? Is this Dinaya’s or Paola’s truth? In the end, we don’t know because our truth starts to mingle in the narrative. Our ideas about love and personal experiences shape the overall perception. The ending is open, bitter-sweet maybe.
is a Belgian artist based in Brussels. Her work is cantered around people who are the closest to her, exploring their strong bond and change of dynamics throughout their lives. As she describes her way of working, “it feels like a family album where everyone, even myself, changes every day. I take a lot of pictures… This is a certain obsessive way of working I have always loved.”
was founded by photographer and curator Calin Kruse and editor and curator Yana Kruse. Dienacht consists of a magazine, independent publishing house and a workshop lab focusing on strong and timeless photography. Through their educational platform, they additionally provide coaching sessions focused on photobook production and curation.
Come Closer is available for purchase here.