Photographs by Jesse Marlow.
Sling Shot Press, Melbourne, 2005.
black-and-white illustrations throughout, 6x8½".
Signed copies available!
For the last 2 years Melbourne photographer Jesse Marlow has been documenting people who have been affected by superficial injuries as they go about their daily routine out on the street. Like an obsession, he followed the walking wounded as they awkwardly manoeuvred their way through seas of commuters. A grisly eye-patch made his heart skip a beat and the resilience of people that have been broken in some way endeared themselves to his camera.
A wound is no reason to stop living. Lost a leg? Then hop goddamit. Got a blood nose? Then roll up a tissue, shove it up your nose and keep walking. Human beings are like architecture. Our bones the scaffolding that sometimes needs a little reinforcement, our skin a roof tile that needs replacing, or simply the nervous system just needs rewiring.
Approximately 10 million Americans break a bone each year, and on average every person in the States will experience two broken bones over the course of a lifetime. In emergency wards all over the world, doctors stitch up, set bones and wrap patients in bandages before spinning them round and out the automatic doors onto the street. `Get back out there' is the general message. But still humans are fragile. Sure the bruises fade, frostbite can turn into hardened dead skin that resembles gristle, burns can be grafted with flesh from our bottoms, but something inside the soul has been tested. Wounds remind us that we're breakable. They give an exact GPS location of where we stand in life. And often they leave a scar forever tying us to that moment in time.
The people in most of these photos are alone. Some of them haven't changed their bandages in days. All of them are vulnerable, resilient and strangely beautiful. You see, while perfection is what we're all aiming for, it's the scars that give us the best stories.
Words by Anna Krien