Restraint and Desire is the culmination of a lifelong creative partnership between husband and wife Ken Graves and Eva Lipman, whose visionary life together was defined by the unique and selfless act of claiming artistic credit as a singular entity.
For decades they acutely surveyed high school dances, military ceremonies, football games, boxing matches, and other American social rituals, seeking to capture the complex intensity between humans often overlooked in these commonplace settings. These mostly prosaic happenings often revealed sexual tensions that Ken and Eva saw not only in the world around them, but in their own relationship. As Eva says, “our work reflected back to us, like a mirror, the intensities and power dynamics of our shared life together.” Acts of generosity and humility, domination and submission, passions, both violent and tender, straight and homoerotic, are all beautifully enhanced through the intimacy of the photographs.
With a profound visual sensitivity, Graves and Lipman collect human gestures that betray the complex interiority of their subjects. Hands often act here as the protagonist– grabbing, touching, reaching –entering and exiting the photographs like a visual metronome. Lust, fear, boredom, exhaustion and a myriad of feelings beyond the realm of language are all on display through the discerning glare of their camera and its flash.