Meaning and Melancholy

Meaning and Melancholy

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer,” writes Albert Camus (1913-1960) in Return to Tipasa, a lyrical 1954 essay in which the Nobel Prize-winner recounts a trip to his hometown in Algeria. The quote reflects on the human condition at large, and is part of Camus’ wider explorations into Absurdism, morality and, ultimately, the meaning of life in the face of death.

It’s interesting to explore the works of Samantha Cavet through this lens. The Venezuela-born photographer focuses on “portraying the human abyss, loneliness and melancholic feelings,” often depicting lone figures within expansive landscapes. As with Camus’ writing, weather plays an important role, where climate and atmosphere influence characters’ behaviour.

These are fields which stretch out into nowhere. Horizons are obscured by fog and brooding clouds, whilst dark skies rumble above. Elsewhere, rain seems to splash on the lens, creating a sense of texture. Burnt umbers, deep blues and dark reds merge like paint on canvas.

Currently based in Madrid, Cavet is highly influenced by paintings, music, films and poetry, as well as small details and vignettes from daily life. Her dreamy pictorial landscapes are examples, reflecting upon her experiences living in three different countries and travelling from a young age.

Elsewhere, planes fly in front of full moons, cutting through billowing black clouds. Yellow and green hills undulate in block colours, bushes and trees fading into the distance. Cavet has been developing her process over the past two years, finding experimentation, image altering and editing to be crucial tools.


All images courtesy Samantha Cavet.