documenting worlds
photography by annie appel
film-based work *
Serenata de Amor: The Gratitude Journals*
(2008 to present)

From childhood you've been about 'let's
go.' About roaming on your horse through
open fields in Argentina. As a girl my 'let's
go' meant alone time to write in my journal,
or printing photos beneath the glow of an
amber safelight in a makeshift darkroom in
the basement.

In our first week together, during our first
walk, you allowed me my first portrait. I
promised, "only ever one photo, and only
ever with this ancient square film camera,
and only when you say yes."

"I don't mind so much," you said. But
without limits? The surest way to destroy a
chance at creating lasting intimacy is to fall
in love with an artist who photographs.

The old Rolleiflex camera demands limits
too - each exposure a five-dollar bet.
Maybe this time I captured the union of
light and love. Each exposure hours and
hours for processing film and scanning and
perfecting tones. Forced to slow it all
down. To wait for the mood to match the
moment. And as always, to await your yes.

You brought home a Serenata de Amor
chocolate bonbon - the candy you craved
as a kid - and instantly I knew the name
for the collection of these shared moments
- Song of Love.

A decade later, in the midst of the latest
wars and famines and fires consuming the
planet I wondered is love enough though.
How about beauty. Is beauty enough? We
took the day and escaped to our spot on
the beach. Perfect sun. Perfect angle.
Perfect color. Perfect love. I asked for a
photograph, and not really in the mood,
you allowed me your back. The title
forever shifted - Serenata de Amor: The
Gratitude Journals.

With gratitude I say yes to your 'let's go'-
chase to be with you in the hills, on the
dunes, on trains and planes, to places I
hadn't imagined going.