BRENDA MORENO. B TO B
by Natalya Reznik


A lot of photo books refer to the idea of family album. It is probably easier to name photographers who didn’t tackle their family issues by using the medium of photo book than listing those who did. It seems like almost any family photo story is destined to end up in the form of a book.

The Mexican photographer Brenda Moreno starts her book with several passport photos of herself made during different times. This refers not only to the identification process but also to the idea of time. Her appearance changes on each photo - long hair, short hair, makeup, no makeup, bright eyebrows, thin eyebrows, smiling, not smiling, etc. On some she looks like a star (she even holds a small dog in her hands), on others - she is just the girl-next-door with elusive facial features. On these passport photos we observe the process of the construction of self-identity of the young girl.

«A thematic basis for the family album remains time, which is perceived as the change of generations and ages», writes Russian philosopher Veronika Nurkova in the book «A Mirror with the Memory». But this family story focusses not on the idea of time, but rather on the phenomenon of identity - the search of oneself through one’s own family (and those who can be called “family”). For instance, the horses.

There are a lot of horses in the book, which evidently have not only biographical (since Moreno was little she was surrounded by horses at her home in Mexico), but also symbolical meaning. The repeated image of a horse immediately reminded me of a great movie by another Spanish-speaking author Julio Medem- “Cows” (1991), where the big animals appeared as a mute witness to everything happening to several generations of one family, representing the wild, animallistic, unconscious side of us, which manifests our latent desires.

A horse is swimming and a horse is galloping, a horse is rising up in the air and a horse is dying in a puddle of its own blood, a horse is controlled by a lasso and a horse is trying to get free… But despite of its wish to be free, it must adapt to the environment, to tame itself. Similar to what everyone of us has to do to belong to a family (a family is not always a blessing, but a sort of bound, a restriction for one who used to live in freedom).

The book’s cover is red coloured and red appears within the book several times, as a kind of a common thread, by which all the photographs are sewn together. The book combines a wide range of pictures - old photos of Brenda’s relatives, collages made by the author herself, photos of her mother, her dog, their home, and horses - in a very elegant way.

The story has no clear classical plot, instead it balances on the unsteady edge of associations, feelings and dreams, supported by the strong frame of book design. The book "B to B’ has a lot in common with cinema - a dreamy-style movie, that plenty of great photo books look like.


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017


© Still image of the book 'Brenda Moreno. B to B' , published by Witty Kiwi, 2017

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LINKS
Brenda Moreno
Witty Kiwi