The series In Search of the Crying Lady from IPG Project (Yoshi and Tamara Kametani) does something different to other photography projects which set out to document or uncover the lives of the “professional mourner” which were, or indeed still are common to communities from across Europe to Africa and Asia. First, the work is not approached in a manner sympathetic to the subject, that is to say, the artists have not created a maudlin aesthetic, saturated with the grim spectre of death. True, there are images of death, but they are brighter than one would expect, even airy, and not the suffocating darkness one feels upon entering a funeral home in full ceremony. Second, there is no professional mourner, there is no “crying lady” as the title suggests, in fact, the search goes on without discovering such a character. The death which ultimately prevails in this story, is the death of a tradition. The Crying Lady is as much a spectre as Death itself it would seem. The series is now a self-published book, as you can see below…
In Search of the Crying Lady is a poetic and dark tale about a search for a tradition that never gets found.
“The Crying Lady refers to the term Plačky who were professional mourners in Slovakia. Plačky used to be an essential part of the Slovak death ritual and were hired by the family of the deceased. The tradition was believed to still exist in certain areas of the country. Despite the encouragement that IPG received from ethnographers and people they spoke to along the way, the Plačky were never found. The journey had therefore turned into a search for the tradition that disappeared before anyone that IPG encountered had realized. In Search of the Crying Lady is essentially a collection of moments that crossed IPG’s path along their road to failure. ”
IPG Project is an experimental collaborative project of photographers Yoshi and Tamara Kametani. Yoshi and Tamara established IPG in 2010 and are currently based in New Jersey, USA. In Search of The Crying Lady is their first self-published book. You can purchase the book directly from the website here