Kris Vervaeke, born and raised in Belgium, later settled in Singapore. He spent several years photographing the cemeteries of Hong Kong, drawn to the small porcelain portraits attached to the tombstones. Of the 1,000 pictures of portraits that were made, a selection was recently published as the book Ad Infinitum.
These deserted cemeteries house many tiny portraits. Portraits, personal and often intimate, that were never meant to be used as a memorial. A single image selected to convey a whole life. Out of the context of the cemetery and away from the idea of death. The focus lies on the portrait itself, people in their present. Over time the portraits are exposed to rain, sun, extreme temperatures and humidity. The portraits become abstract. In the end, we are left with the simple abstract beauty of the image as such.
The portrait series in the book exposes both the strength of the individual face and the perishable nature of the individual human body. The fading images reference mortality of human life, and the limitations of our impact. Subconsciously, our interest in the individual fades as the portraits become less clear. It is quietly replaced by our draw to the beauty of the abstract image. We will be remembered only by the children of our children. As the faces fade further, anonymity returns and once again we become part of nature.
To view more of Kris’ work please visit his website.