Set in the Caucasus mountains, Divine State is a series of photographs that examine our complex relationship with mortality.
For humans who cannot bear to follow natural order, the social-cultural ‘hero’ narratives of legacy, religious piety and memorial promise different forms of eternity. Establishing denial towards death becomes critical to well-being in a functioning society. Symbolically, to defy death is to live forever, in a divine, god-like state. Though, in a cyclical inevitability, things begin to crumble, wrinkle and decay around us and the most terrifying admission – one the philosopher William James describes as 'the worm-at-the-core' – sets in.
Photographed at the end of 2021 using medium format film, Thomas Swinburn mixes intimate human moments with reminders of the past, austere landscapes and imposing mountains to address the complexities of this profound dilemma. What emerges is either a quiet desperation or a liberating truth. This is Thomas’s debut publication.
84 pages, 17.6 x 25 cm, perfect-bound softcover, MOM (Melbourne).