“A country named after a desert. One of the least densely populated places on earth. Defined by its rich variety of colors—yet in a forever changing, yet completely barren landscape. Namibia’s landscape draws you in, through a vast brown plain of scorched earth, and steers you over the white surface of a salt pan to finally arrive in the gold tones of the sand dunes. Patience is required to discover the wide range of Namibia’s subtle scenery.
It literally takes you hours, driving though nothing, to at long last arrive at…more of nothing. The sight of other people is rare and only the strategically located gas stations are a reminder of the world beyond. This country is in another time zone—time seems to move slower but it feels more logical, somehow. Captivated by these washed out yet delicately colored landscapes, you can drive for hours. Chaperoned by herds of giraffes or zebras, shadowed by flocks of flamingos, suddenly stumbling upon a family of elephants. The animals look up curiously, but soon forget about you and slowly continue their journey, unhurried by your presence, at their own pace.”
Valérie Belin‘s series ‘Black Eyed Susan’ – interweaving images of flowers and women to question the concept of consummate beauty as pure decoration.
Using the plastic beauty of the ideal post-war female and mixing it boldly with plenty of flowers, the artist created dreamy painterly portraits of the excessive decorativeness to evoke our societal stereotyped visions fractured through the layers of time.
Valérie Belin – Black Eyed Susan
Currently there are two series dated 2010 and 2013.
“Follows a baroque still life tradition to evoke meaning by showing and choosing certain objects. My images are very much about the transitoriness of being and the constant human involvement in it – and its resulting changes of fates. Photography seems to snatch moments of time from mortality. But the captured moments are not more than representations of the past. In my photographs I try to stop the decay, well knowing that all is in vain. Still I love to linger on the beauty of decay.
All the lighting in all the photographs is natural daylight coming in through a window. I found reference and inspiration in baroques paintings.”
The photographs were taken along the Rhine on the verge of the absence of light – in twilight, just before dawn, shortly after sunset, in the fog, in the late fall and winter season – to convey that gloomy romantic mood and giving them the sense of generic atmosphere of any lazily flowing river in the world.
“To lose myself in situations and images, to indulge in the longing for stillness, is a major element of my artistic work. My works are intimate encounters. Emotion and ephemerality become manifested in them.”
“River” is a consistent sequel to the “Wald” series confirming that in Michael Lange’s images the dark beauty of nature is magical.
Using colour is something unusual for the German photographer who has mastered to look at the world in black and white. “You can’t just take a colour picture and turned it to black and white, and expect to have the same impact. To achieve the perfection of that way of looking have to sharpen the view towards black and white.”
However while visiting Paris for specimens all of a sudden he saw their beauty in colour. “There it was. Something amazing, that could be told only in colour.”
The elaborate creative process to achieve such a transparent effect and reveal the fine details is his own invention and printing them in handcrafted Japanese paper highlighten their beauty and fragility.
To learn more about the artist’s thoughts behind the series watch this video
“I believe we carry with us into this life more than simply the codes for the present iteration of our limbs and eye color and liver size. If we carry inherited physical and behavioral traits, wouldn’t we also carry inherited traits of consciousness? We are all a learned thing – an ever-gathering and ever-adjusting animal – nothing is lost. It is those traits that I use my camera to find. They are the ghosts of presence and memory, the vestigial elements we carry within and about us as invisibly as spirits.”
To learn more about the artist and his other projects watch his talk at 555 Gallery.
Pep Ventosa’s series ‘Street Lamps’ – surreal portraits with watercolour texture of these often neglected pieces of the city landscape as solitary urban sculptures and construction of a new reality of visual experience from different views and angles.
“Using overlaid shots of the lamps set against their habitat of trees, buildings, cars and people, the images are tinged with the colour, movement and atmosphere of different neighbourhoods in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Barcelona and other cities.”
“Many of the images were taken in the same place — practically in my backyard — but at different times, in different seasons, over the course of years and years (the projected started in 2005). I have always been fascinated by trees, water and people to engage with the fundamental wholeness of nature.”
Marius Schultz – A conversation with Nature
“My first images were at a local lake at night. It was early spring. There were some cows on the field. I shot a whole roll of film. Afterwards I was very disappointed with the result. It didn´t turn out the way I saw it. That was 40 years ago.
Today I have complete different approach. Today I wonder more about the “Why?” Why did I go out of night to shoot? What kind of mystery where I hoping for? What was I thinking? It was my first roll of film. I could have no expectations.
The answer was there all in front of me: I chose nature – not the city lights, I chose night, not day. I chose spring, not winter – and so on. I needed a camera to observe the essence of nature, and start a conversation. I need the conversation to understand myself, the world, our universe.”
”Photography doesn’t capture time, but evokes it. It flows endlessly like fine sand, and the changing landscapes change nothing.”
French photographer Bernard Plossu started taking photographs by chance in Mexico in 1965 and since then for over 50 years he has never stopped, creating sensual images with a unique style that can be identified as his own. He has captured landscapes around the world predominantly in black and white but lately, using the Fresson carbon printing process, he has begun to embrace the color.
Bernard Plossu – Couleur Fresson
“The Fresson process is a rare and unique way to print color: it can be called “charcoal printing” as well. The grandfather, Theodore Henri, invented the process in 1899 and his son Pierre followed up. Later Michel and now Jean François—four generations, in all—carry on the tradition. What’s special is that it produces a particular mood, with a kind of grain that gives the land and the skies a matte sensation. It makes my pictures somehow peaceful and not at all tape à l’ oeil [flashy]. There is nothing glossy here, nothing spectacular, just the opposite, which is what I am looking for.”
Chrystel Lebas’s ‘Hidden Nature’ – made in twilight lyrical photographs of ‘nests’ of feathers left behind a bird killed by a wild animal reveal the drama of the invisible mysterious elements of the natural world.
Chrystel Lebas – Hidden Nature
“Walking alone in the forest recording close up scenes or tableaux, I attempted to reveal the hidden side of nature, the nature we have glorified forgetting its real harshness and purpose, questioning man’s relationship with the natural environment and man’s response to a lost wilderness. The Photographs are taken with a medium format camera, instead of showing wide expense of space, here we are looking close-up at the subject, scrutinizing it.”