What makes a good photograph? I’m not sure. It is something that you can’t explain. You look at it and it strikes a chord with you. The second aspect we consider is the person, the personality and their brand. This has quite a detrimental effect in the way we view work or how we conform our ideas around it. We might think one thing but say another depending on the stature of that photographer. Two elements are working here for me leaving me in a position where I am not entirely sure how to approach this article. I have been pushing the pictures through my mind the past few days and I felt I had built myself up to this piece of text. Even so, I am apprehensive and this is because the pictures make me feel something I cannot explain with words. How do you explain that?
The reason these are good photographs is because they stir something within us. They do not reach out to a cause that we passionately believe in, nor do they make us angry because they depict a subject current in the news. They connote a certain quality that makes us experience every inch of the frame. Some more than others, the series of photographs appear to accumulate leaving outstanding picture with great ones, followed my decent efforts. Not everything is perfect. But this is what creates the intrigue. The process is a very human experience, built on an inherent sense of touch and feel. There is something emerging from the print. Even online this sheen astounds us, as we have no idea what to make of it. It makes us press our reblog and like buttons to remember and appreciate the work. They do not particularly say anything but they don’t need to.
Is this what makes a successful photograph? Surely feeling is crucial component when we approach a piece of art. The best art does not need to be translated with a project statement; the best work does not explain anything in particular. It ties with our view of the world, but the photographers place within that. This creates an intimate relationship between the viewer and the photographer. We are shown something that is not completely there. This paradox develops tension within the photograph.
It is crucial to consider that these photographs were made from real circumstances but their treatment creates another element that contradicts reality. Questions of what is real and what is additional raise positive issues within the work. The work challenges our perception of a photograph rather than the subject; the subject merely facilitates this process. Alas, the subject is the enticing factor and invites description and consideration. What is the subject anyway?
It is very easy with photography nowadays to say it is a very vague process and could mean a host of things and this has come down to laziness on most levels. This trend does not apply to the work. It is a different beast altogether. What makes us stay around is the hold the pictures have on us when they are bang on. When they are perfect you can spend hours lost in the inches of the frame, very much like a painting. Funny this should be raised as the photographer was trained as a painter and had moved to work with the camera instead. This could seem somewhat of a step down in ability and craftsmanship but the craft of the painter has been transferred. It sounds ridiculous but the photographs are more alike to paintings that photograph because of this backlog in the artist’s life. They are still a painter but use a camera instead. The simpler that is said is probably for the better.
What seems like it is saying nothing, is saying everything about, well everything. It releases ideas of the supernatural in the everyday. They are scenes of euphoria using real life, brought to life by the eye of the artist. Notice how he is now described as the artist. The difference in roles is completely different but can cross paths with the right scenario. Now, I’d like to think back to why these photographs left me so lost for words. It is their astounding beauty, presence and general ore. They do not look to tell me anything, which is probably the most fascinating element I find in the work. They do not say anything at all, instead they communicate by feeling. If we consider pictures without words, that really does make sense. Why would we ever need words with pictures? This is most likely why I find it all so challenging to describe.
Aside from the personal predicament the photographs in this particular edit touch just about every sense we have in our body – sight, smell, the rich colour palette seeping into our minds. They keep soaking and soaking our attention but we are never forced out of the experience when we leave the photographs alone. It slows down our complete sense of the world. They tell us so much about human beings, what they are, where we live, why were here, what we do, what we can see and why it is all-important. It is so much more than an aesthetic. This aesthetic is the tool for this reaction, but it is only a very small element in the grander scheme of what the work is. What the work is is nothing short of exceptional. And I have tried to keep praise relatively quiet in this piece to avoid a bias description. The compliment is almost impossible to ignore.
Whatever we look to be as human beings, wherever we choose to locate ourselves and wherever we end up going seem to be explained so simply in these photographs. It is just remarkable, remarkable.
Wouter Van De Voorde