Lost for Words, a Royal London Exhibition in Collaboration with Rankin by Aybuke Barkcin



“Death teaches you more about life, than anything else”

On 16th of November, Royal London revealed a collaboration with the famous British photographer Rankin for a digital exhibition called “Lost for Words” which aims to break the taboo surrounding the difficulty of grief and having the open conversation about death.

Lost for Words is a moving new digital exhibition, shot by Rankin, made up of a series of photographs of people superimposed next to images of loved ones they have lost, bringing together the departed and those left behind. It also includes an interview series and short film discussing the importance of talking about death and planning for the inevitable.”

As the global pandemic continues to take lives, we are living in very tough times where the loss of our loved ones are being defined in numbers, cases, statistics, data… We don’t know how to feel about it. We don’t know how to approach it. Death has never been an easy conversation to have with others, even with ourselves. But this exhibition hopes to provoke a conversation about the things in life that we are afraid to say.

Lost for Words aims to encourage a vital dialogue on bereavement, to honour those we have lost and help us enjoy the time we have with those we love.”

Personally, I’ve never understood grief, it is a feeling that I never accepted fully, something I chose to avoid when I could. Perhaps the talk about death is discomforting for some of us like me, but it is the discomforts in life that we truly gain lessons from. As I was watching the stories of everyone in the exhibition, stories about their lost ones and how they process grief…I heard something beautiful, “Grief reminds you the love you had for that person. It is an explorations of yourself.”

Everybody’s pain is different and how they cope with it is different. But there must come a time when we allow ourselves to feel the way we feel in order to move forward.

Regarding the exhibition, Rankin expressed that, “You see the image and think that the person is not there but the relationship and the love is still there.”

“What if ‘the conversation’ wasn’t so difficult? What if it was easier, reassuring, funny, joyful? What if it, conjured memories of a full and happy life, rather than existential panic? It’s time to change the narrative.”

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to open up.

You can watch the digital exhibition Lost for Words here: https://lostforwords.royallondon.com/

Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: https://www.aybukebarkcin.com/