If this is love…


A photobook by Johnaton Hildago, Iulia Rusu, Carlos Gil Cuevas, Jacinta Ruiz Gimeno, Nieves Peña Ramos. Link to the work.

In this photobook, we wanted to analyze and explore the development, progression, resolution, and ultimate human toll that toxic and abusive relationships can entail. Through this, we wanted to explore the many emotions and situations associated with such relationships, especially the feeling of entrapment one may feel when in one. Our goal is ultimately to capture the human experience of something society does not want to talk about or acknowledge: when love goes awry and becomes abusive. It is important to us to bring these topics into the light so that they can be identified and discussed, as much for the current and past victims of these situations, but also for potential future victims.

In many ways, we wanted to simplify and streamline these ideas into a digestible format. This led to our conception of a mostly minimalist format, but still maintaining depth and layers to our images. It is through this reductionist and minimalist approach that we intend to give great importance to every element of our images, whether that be composition, props, or symbols.

We approached this project from a perspective of sensitivity and understanding. After carrying out exhaustive research, our team noticed that the portrayal of toxic relationships, in this case, romantic couples, is often considered taboo. The sensitivity to these kinds of topics prevails in the current society even though it is more frequent than people want to accept. For this reason, we found it hard to work on this project without excluding any of the stages of toxicity in romantic relationships, not even the most unnoticed. In the attempt to properly represent these situations, we have discovered in the image an effective tool to express all these complex feelings without the need of an explanatory caption. This is why the text chosen to accompany our photos is used, not in a descriptive way, but in the objective of empowering the message conveyed: love shouldn’t hurt.

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