Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat

After stumbling upon Kevin Best on flickr I took an interest in making photographs with vanitas objects (clocks, rotten fruit, peeled lemon, skulls, blown out candles etcetera) but needed some time to find the right way. The photos Kevin Best makes are very much like the classical paintings in the Memento mori (remember that you will die) tradition. Carefully arranged still lifes with many of the required vanitas objects lit the classic way. Beautiful as this may be, it is not what I had in mind.

So I arranged my alarm clock as a vanitas object in my bedroom and lit it with my studio flash. This is the way I see it, everything is polished nowadays, smoothed out, clean. But we are still perishable. The clock is supposed to remind us of mortality, so I set it to my birthday two years from now. Who knows if I will have perished by then? You cannot know. Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (latin speak that goes with the clock, especially the ticking that reminds us of time passing: they all wound, and the last kills). Still, there is an upside to this, lost in the Christian interpretation of Memento mori: knowing that we will die should urge us to make the most of the time we have. Carpe diem. When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, rise, and make something of your beautiful new day.

Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat – photo Joeri van Veen 2010

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