Now online: Turning Photography — Exploring the edges of Belgian contemporary photography through a curated selection of essays and artists’ portraits

Dirk Braeckman’s selection for the Belgian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale prompted us to turn the spotlight on some of the most audacious artists working in the medium of photography in Belgium today.

Next to a broad selection of older, more established artists and photographers, Turning Photography focuses on a generation of up-and-coming young photographers and visual artists. Their work has been chosen because of its candour and lack of reverence towards more conventional photographic practices.

Turning Photography features a series of specially commissioned essays and interviews as well as a selection of portraits of artists whose work leads to an experimental exploration and critical re-evaluation of the role of the photographer in the broader field of contemporary visual art and culture.

Although photography takes on many guises in the work of both the up-and-coming and the more established photographers and artists, these practitioners have at least one thing in common: a fascination for the specific regime of visibility that has been introduced by photography. At the same time, photographers in Belgium have to engage with the same challenges that trouble photographers worldwide. Since the whole photographic system, from production and distribution to reception, has become unstable, contemporary photographers are forced into a brooding self-reflexive mood, constantly questioning the medium, asking themselves what might become of it. This has led to new and daring attempts to redefine the possibilities of the photographic system. Some artists find an answer in the digital realm; others look for renewal by reviving old analogue skills; still others attempt a radical deconstruction of the photographic process or work with the materiality and three-dimensionality of the photographic image.

Turning Photography offers an insight into the different positions of artists that exemplify today’s tendency to take the medium to the edge.

[...] What Somers has since been researching is the ontological question as to how the photographic image comes about as an object, and what that does to the portrayed and portrayer, and to our view of the world. Photography is incident light, energy that burns itself into film, fire from the sky that is tamed by the lens and allowed through in such a dose that a wonderfully clear picture of reality’s contours appears on the film. A photo is a technically controlled natural disaster.

The flashlight is indeed the photo camera’s most murderous aspect, a medial extension of the nocturnal lightning stroke. The explosion of white light, whether a bulb or powder, renders the invisible visible, but at the same time blinds what it depicts. For a moment no one no longer sees anything, neither the portrayed nor the photographer, and in that dead time, the photograph realises itself, as an acheiropoetic image, an image that is not man-made.

Acheiropoetic images in Somers’ research are, among others, the red Lichtenberg figures that appear after lightning strikes a victim’s torso and arms, as a sort of photo made by lightning with the living body as its medium. The lines form long fractal patterns, like lightning itself, or a river system, a delta, and disappear after a couple of weeks. When lightning strikes in the desert sand, it leaves fulgurites: three-dimensional glass forms in brown and ochre that are created when the sand melts during the violent discharge of energy delivered on impact. A fulgurite is an index, the image as a consequence of its content and in that sense definitive, made by the lightning strike, unique and one-off. Both are examples of what lightning finds beautiful.

In the acheiropoetic image, nature photographs itself. It etches itself into a body or condenses itself into an autonomous object. That is also what photography does. It is an acheiropoetic technique. Everything and everyone on a photograph taken with a flashlight is fulgurite. [...]

_ Arjen Mulder

Lecture on 'the photographic' @ SMAK Ghent, icw. Thinking Tools on April 2nd 2017

Naar aanleiding van de tentoonstelling Metamorphosis over het werk van de Amerikaanse James Welling, organiseert onderzoeksgroep Thinking Tools (Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen) in samenwerking met het SMAK een studienamiddag over ‘het fotografische’.

Zowel in zijn documentaire registraties als in zijn eerder experimentele licht- en kleurstudies lijkt Welling toch ook steeds het fotografisch kijken zelf te thematiseren. Zijn beelden zetten ons ertoe aan na te denken over de relatie tussen camera en wereld, tussen bedienaar en apparaat, tussen wetenschap en kunst. Zijn dwars en divers oeuvre biedt dan ook een uitgelezen kans om de notie van ‘het fotografische’ verder uit te diepen. Thinking Tools en SMAK brengen hiervoor een select gezelschap van fotografen, critici en curatoren rond de tafel.

Praktisch

Op zondag 2 april 2017.
Van 13:00 tot 18:00.
13:00 - 13:20 - Inleiding
13:20 - 14:20 - Gottfried Jäger
14:20 - 15:20 - Dominique Somers
15:20 - 16:00 - break
16:00 - 17:00 - Claudia Angelmaier
17u00 - 18u00: Markus Kramer & Steven Humblet
De voertaal is Engels. 
Inkom: is toegangsticket museum.
in categorie: Lezing

 

00A presented @ Camera Traps: Flusser-symposium, FotoMuseum Antwerp, May 17th 2016

CAMERA TRAPS: FLUSSER-SYMPOSIUM
Bepalen de camera en zijn functionaliteiten hoe beelden worden gemaakt en is de fotograaf dus afhankelijk van het apparaat? Dit uitgangspunt gebruikte filosoof Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) in zijn spraakmakend essay Für eine Philosophie der Fotografie.
Op dinsdag 17 mei laten Belgische en internationale denkers en fotografen hun licht schijnen op de rebelse ideeën van Flusser. Onder andere Andrew Lugg, Brad Feuerhelm en Arjen Mulder gaan tijdens CAMERA TRAPS met elkaar én met zichzelf in discussie over hun visie op fotografie. 

 

00A featured in Extra #20 magazine, FotoMuseum Antwerp, pp. 73-85. Text written by Maarten Dings.

EXTRA #20 - APPARAAT
Na de focus op het gefotografeerde model – Lijf – en het fysieke eindresultaat – Document – richtEXTRA#20 zich op een fundamentele schakel tussen deze uitersten: het Apparaat. Want is het niet de camera die tussen het model en de fotograaf staat? Als een monumentaal obstakel tussen oog en lijf? Of als ideaal verlengstuk van de intentie van de maker? Of nog, als speelbal in het spel der kunsten? Deze twintigste editie van EXTRA is geen lofzang op Flussers nalatenschap, maar een poging om zijn gedachten in een actuele fotografische context te plaatsen en ze uit de zuiver theoretische hoek te halen. De redactie van dit nummer gebeurde in nauwe samenwerking met de onderzoeksgroep Thinking Tools van de Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen.

00A on Democratic Jungle, January 9th 2016

 

 

Published by APE (Art Paper Editions)
Dominique Somers, 00A
15 x 21 cm, 318 p
8 different covers

 

Dominique Somers’ work 00A consists of a remarkable compilation of found images. The title of the series refers to the starting-point markings printed between the sprocket holes on the leader of a 35-mm photographic film. Somers has been collecting the first, automatic exposures made on this 00A strip for years. They are the result of a photographic practice that has almost become a form of archaeology: when positioning a roll of analogue film in the camera, one has to release the shutter a few times and wind a couple of frames forward to reach the starting position of the unexposed part of the spooled film. It is precisely these throwaway shots, made while loading the camera before the real work begins, that Somers had appropriated. When processing the found photo rolls in their black cassettes she is only interested in the first, “blind” exposures. Her mode of operation can be described as photography without a photographer. Somers inverts the usual procedure, cuts away what the photographer intended to record in a deliberate aesthetical gesture and keeps what he or she considered unworthy of a single glance. She gives this “failed” exposure a second life and a new meaning. Strolling in her archive of found images, the artist trusts in the poetry of the unexpected find: her gaze lights up the unconscious image and lends its autonomy. By assembling hundreds of these involuntary exposures, Somers generates a wonderful universe of technical images. – Inge Henneman

Dominique Somers will present her book 00A (Art Paper Editions, 2015) at S.M.A.K. in Ghent Sunday 17 January 2016, 11 am.

 

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http://www.dominiquesomers.com