The complex space, time and narrative of the family holiday exists similarly to the beach as described by John Fiske in his 1983 essay “Surfalism and Sandiotics: The Beach in Oz Culture”. It exists as an “anomalous category” between reality and surreality that “is neither one nor the other but has characteristics of both”, the holiday being “a place and time that is neither home nor work, outside [of] profane normailty…”
The hinterland between the conflicting relationships, emotions and very nature of the holiday time-space is what Inaki Domingo explores in Ser Sangre. The title itself establishes the books position in two senses: Firstly as a book about the familial relationship and the incompatibility of such relationships over time (ser sangre translating as “to be blood”, a term used to describe familial bond, sometimes in the passively pejorative manner suggesting this as the only bond present) and, through its design both in-and-outside the book, the themes of duality and conflict present throughout.
The images are heterogeneous, some colour, some not, some romantic idealisations of the holiday, others definitely and defiantly not. The holiday is relentlessly and irreverently unpicked at its seams until its form becomes completely unrecognisable.
These images are shown alongside poignant, revealing, humourous and succinct pieces of writing, child-like doodles, and newspaper front pages. The stark reality of the grave and immediate issues presented by the newspapers punctuate the work with irregular metre and conflict with the surrealism of the idyllic beach scenes and fantasies presented by scanned novel covers.
The reflective pieces of writing – be they letters, summaries of the day or just general reflections on the concept of the family holiday – are not victims of the individual authors (Ser Sangre is a collaborative project with the whole family) own pride or ignorance. They are raw, honest and unflinchingly revealing not only of this family but of the unspoken reservations that develop in all individuals trying to ‘make it work’ as an extended family unit.
Ser Sangre by Iñaki Domingo is available to purchase here.
Ollie Gapper graduated from UCA Rochester in 2014 with a degree in Photography (Contemporary Practice). He is currently studying an MA in Photography with a long-term focus on photobooks and the American landscape.