The Melancholy Visual Fables of Laura Makabresku | Haute Macabre

The Melancholy Visual Fables of Laura Makabresku

The Tree of Love by Laura Makabresku, 2016

I’ve been quietly in love with the work of Polish photographer Laura Makabresku for years. Her otherworldly photographs fall into that special category of things that feel too personal and precious to mention to another living soul. Or rather, that’s how I once felt about certain things I held dear: that sharing something intensely meaningful to oneself somehow dilutes it.

Seed by Laura Makabesku, 2016

Fortunately, I’ve long since realized that part of the joy of connecting with works of art, music, films, or even physical locations, is sharing them with people you feel will also enjoy them. There’s a singular pleasure to be had in watching someone else light up at the discovery of something from which you derive meaning. So here we are.

The Heart by Laura Makabresku, 2016

The Autopsy by Laura Makabresku, 2014

Lamentate I by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Laura Makabresku’s photos feel like frozen moments from dreamlike narratives with no beginning or end. There are ghost stories and love stories, folktales and fairytales, stories of witchcraft, deep friendship, immortal romance, crippling grief, forbidden love, arcane rites and rituals, magical metamorphosis, and endless combinations thereof. And one need not know what has happened before or might happen next in order to be moved by these affecting scenes.

Ravens by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Sanctification by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Lovers by Laura Makabresku, 2015

Wintersleep by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Makabresku tends to work in austere surroundings, often alone in the frame, but sometimes posing with or shooting her husband and other friends. She makes both props and active participants out of taxidermy mounts and pelts, plants and flowers, preserved insect specimens, live animals, puppets and sculptures made by fellow artists, and even her own blood and tears on her translucently pale skin.

Dark Rituals by Laura Makabresku, 2012

Untitled by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Lessons of Darkness by Laura Makabresku, 2015

Depending on my own mood and present circumstances, Makabresku’s photos speak to me differently each time I look at them, but the narrator of these poignant tales is always the same: an unearthly presence in the form of a velvety silence. It’s that special sort of quiet, like a nighttime landscape covered in a thick blanket of fresh snow, that’s so deep you can hear your own heartbeat. This unsleeping silence watches everything, but passes no judgement, a ghostly witness.

The Hunger by Laura Makabresku, 2014

Cabinet of Souls by Laura Makabresku, 2016

Butterflies by Laura Makabresku, 2013

Suffused with incredible vulnerability and tenderness as well as boundless sorrow and suffering, these enigmatic fragments feel like part fantasy and part nightmare. They are achingly beautiful memento mori, expressions of the fragility of our hearts and minds, of a longing to connect more deeply with the natural world. The photos don’t have to portray things that I’ve actually experienced in order to resonate on a breathtakingly personal level. They are visual depictions of feelings for which there are no words.

The Two Sisters by Laura Makabresku, 2014

The Two Sisters by Laura Makabresku, 2014

Lovers by Laura Makabresku, 2017

I considered reaching out to Laura Makabresku for this piece, to inquire about her process and personal symbolism. But the more I think about how and why I enjoy Makabresku’s work, the less I want to know about what goes on behind the scenes. Let’s allow this sorceress to work undisturbed behind her curtain.

Laura Makabresku and Ovate, 2016

Find Laura Makabresku: Website // Flickr // Facebook // Instagram // Behance


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