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I’m a photographer based in East London and the silverlicker project is my creative outlet. ​I’m looking to work and collaborate with interesting models and artists to build my portfolio. My interests range from urban landscape to fashion, architecture, portraiture and nature. I’m especially interested in capturing the detail of objects and subjects.

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Modern Couples @ Barbican

What struck me most from this overwhelming exhibition, was how many of the fascinating relationships on display were tragic, short lived, uneven, unrequited, destructive and all consuming. And yet, through them all, came inspired creativity and artistry. But was the creativity the output of of these troubled relations, or were the relationships consumed by creativity? Does great art really require personal struggle and pain?

Almost none of these beautiful stories lasted forever or had the fairytale ‘happy ever after’ ending. Most of the relationships I remember from the exhibition ended in death, suicide, divorce, mental illness, obsession, sadness or overwhelming grief.

Forgetting sexuality and gender for a moment, as these things are becoming more accepted as fluid, the idealised dream sold to most of us as children – to find a life long love, to ‘settle down’ (or just settle?), to buy a house, to have children, to grow old with someone – only sets us up to fail. Is it human nature to find love or is it a romanticised dream that we’re taught to give us hope for the future?

I’ve always found maintaining longer term relationships to be a struggle. But were those relationships ever meant to last? Were they personal failures or just moments in time that should have been enjoyed and let go instead of having the expectation of ‘forever’? I believed it to be the former until about 18 months ago, when I became far more aware of my own personal qualities, interests and self worth.

I’m writing this on the Winter Solstice, a time for reflection before the light returns, and reflecting back on those relationships, they all had good qualities. Where there was most profound drama, there was also the most profound positive change. 

Relationships have become even more fractured in modern times, because the way we communicate and consume life has also changed. We’re influenced never to settle for second best, but at the same time, we also pressure ourselves to seek out perfection. Surely that mindset means you are only ever going to lose, because the perfect human just doesn’t exist – we are all flawed. The on-going search, where every flaw of a prospective partner is picked over, seemingly becomes a reason to move on.

Maybe we should take a moment to realise that it’s the flaws that make us human and they’re the best part?

Part of this inspiring exhibition is called ‘chance encounters’. And visiting the Barbican today really was one. A day off. No plan. What should I do? It turns out I was going to be inspired.

I hope that when meet, you’ll enjoy all my flaws.

Modern Couples is on at the Barbican Centre until 27 January 2019.