Journey into Vincent Ferrané's MILKY WAY

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Milk is “calm, white, lucid, the equal of reality,” wrote Roland Barthes. Milk “joins, covers, restores.” Milk is expansive. A bead of milk dripping from the nipple might in fact be a pearl peeking from an oyster shell, and a mother nursing her child might be a queen with her prince. In French photographer Vincent Ferrané’s new book Milky Way pictures of his wife and child breastfeeding make a meditation on the universality of the practice, and, somehow, the universe.

The images are chronological and consistent in lighting and texture, presenting a cinematically beautiful logbook. But each page is a new feeling, capturing the bumps and wrinkles of motherhood and intimacy, a site of open-ended variation like the human body itself. Ferrané’s camera tracks his wife and their baby, and their bodies, as they hold one another in a tender tangle of skin, sit dwarfed under a wall of family portraits, and are transmuted into their symbols—a breast pump, a spit-up stain. Interludes of still landscapes remind us of the interiority and intimacy of the photobook, that these scenes are always happening but we cannot always see within.

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Barthes was writing about milk as the antithesis to wine, what the French linguist saw as the nation’s totem-drink. Milk, however, is the totem drink of all. Ferrané’s treatment of his family’s experience is soft and rhythmic, and it is a book of moves we all know by heart.

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To purchase a copy of Vincent Ferrané's Milky Way, click here.

 

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Text by Greta Rainbow

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