Donata Wenders’ image, The Couple (2000) intrigues with its unfocused depiction of two figures, a male and a female, walking into the shot in Israel. Donata describes the scene: “the sunset had been a while ago and it was only the last glimmer of light that gave this couple its tremendous grace.” Out of the subdued light emerge indistinct figures that imply an intriguing narrative. Who are the figures? What takes them away from the water’s edge and into the landscape beyond? Carrying few belongings they appear to seek something on the other side of the camera. Yet as romantic as they might first appear, silhouetted against the overcast sky and uninviting ocean, Wenders’ darkened figures appear simultaneously to have become intruders whose presence interrupts the landscape and whose future journey is unclear. Are the figures immigrants from a more romantic era or are they wrestling with the challenge of becoming refugees now? Wenders’ image presses home the humanity that resides in those who have to move from ship to shore while suggesting the burden the displaced have to bear.
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