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We'll Always Have Halong, Virginia

While travelling through Halong Bay in Vietnam, Von Bargen photographed what he thought was a group of playful swimmers. He later realised what he witnessed was a crowd attempting to save a drowning woman. This traumatic experience recalled Virginia Woolf’s self-induced drowning 70 years earlier, a comparison which Von Bargen used to work through the incident in his work. Seeking to aestheticise the juxtaposition between the accidental and the desired, he presented the unframed image of the stranger’s drowning with its negative counterpart laid in front on the floor, both reading as tombstones or memorials to the lost women.

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