Ken Graves and Eva Lipman’s lifelong collaboration is a playful research on ritual and body language.
A book and an exhibition, “Restraint + Desire” is the testament of the work that husband and wife Ken Graves and Eva Lipman developed during the course of their life together, before Ken Grave’s death in 2016. Together they photographed mundane events and social rituals in American society, shooting the same situation from two angles and never revealing whose image they picked in the editing process.
The body moves freely, oddly, sometimes ambiguously, revealing how even occasions codified by social norms can’t switch off people’s individuality. Faces are closer to each other than the etiquette would recommend, hands are unpredictable, expressions reveal more than they should. “Our work reflected back to us, like a mirror, the intensities and power dynamics of our shared life together” says Eva Lipman. And it fully takes advantage of photography’s non-narrative, enigmatic power.