Concepts

Indras Devolution vs Mondiaans Evolution – Remake

As mentioned above this is a remake of the version before. I have deleted that one as I choose what you get to see and I have decided it to be my final on this matter only. The reasoning behind the edit is that I found the former ones (“Ruin” & “Birth”) too unsharp and the model in “Ruin” was not centered enough. Still isn’t perfectly in the middle; that photo didn’t seem to like that and lived its own life for a bit which really suited the thoughts behind it (yes, I can do the blabla-bullshit too). 🙂

When I was in high school we visited the “Haags GemeenteMuseum” where a lot of Piet Mondriaan’s (1872-1944) work is on display. One that particularly attracted me was his painting “Evolution” made in 1911. The painting contains a lot of theosophical influences and symbolism, the latter always fascinated me in art. With this painting Mondriaan hoped that people looking at it would convert to being more spiritual and less influenced by material and earthly ways.

“A cosmic, mystical evolution progressing from matter through soul to spirit, influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy, a combination of mysticism and new science. Three nude female figures, or perhaps one figure seen from three different points of evolution: the terrestrial or earthly body on the left with the red shapes behind her(red signifying earthly passion) and the triangles indicating nipples and navel pointing downward to earth; the soul at center with the white light behind her and her eyes wide open (Steiner felt young girls (hence the why I used a male) had extra visionary powers due to their supreme feelings of devotion and he thought full enlightenment only came with eyes open) with her nipples and navel triangles pointing upwards to a higher plane; and finally the Divine Spirit on the right with yellow stars behind her whose nipples and navel triangles point both up and down in a perfect harmony of the spheres through a dynamic balancing of opposing forces. The spiritual and physical in unison.” (Source: CSULB)

Of course, as one can tell from my former posts, I don’t believe in human kind being able to act as a spiritual society as a whole. We become too polluted by money and power. It is my belief that one day this will cause the ruin of mankind as we know it. So, when Carlo (my former teacher at SASK) came by to ask me if I wanted to work on the theme “Seven Deadly Sins” I was more than compelled to do so. Only to make 7 photos, each of them depicting one of the sins, seemed quite boring and rather cliche to me. Also, the Catholic Church came up with these categories as those are the sins all bad human behavior can be narrowed down to. But Man made these, not God. I wish to convict mankind in its entirety for they created everything and thus should be held responsible. The painting of Mondriaan hopped back into my thoughts one day and I decided to remake them, my way. “Devolution” as I see no hope for humankind because they are so susceptible to these so called “Seven Sins”.

I’ll post the photos separately below with the explanation for the ones interested. If you wish to remain blissfully ignorant, please refrain from reading the last bit, if you can 😉

Birth: This is the purest, most innocent humankind will ever be. Hence the lilies, the shape of the nipples and belly button, the eyes & the position of the head pointed towards the sky / heaven

Birth: This is the purest, most innocent humankind will ever be. Hence the lilies, the shape of the nipples and belly button, the eyes & the position of the head pointed towards the sky / heaven

Narcis: As you grow you become polluted by money, power etc. You base decisions on what works out best, firstly for yourself. Self love and preservation. Egoism. Hence the choice for the narcis flower, the eyes looking a little over the audiance, the view into one self only explained differently than Mondriaan's version. Here it means getting influenced but you remain the center of all.

Narcis: As you grow you become polluted by money, power etc. You base decisions on what works out best, firstly for yourself. Self love and preservation. Egoism. Hence the choice for the narcis flower, the eyes looking a little over the audiance, the view into one self only explained differently than Mondriaan's version. Here it means getting influenced but you remain the center of all.

Ruin: No explanation needed I think. The dead branches stand for doom. The eyes closed, the shape of the nipples etc pointed towards the earth, completely materialised. Ruin.

Ruin: No explanation needed I think. The dead branches stand for doom. The eyes closed, the shape of the nipples etc pointed towards the earth, completely materialised. Ruin.

All images are 18x24cm black glass ambrotypes. Exposure time: about 20 seconds. Fixer: Sodium Thiosulphate 30%

I’ve gotten around the way I would like to present them. They will be printed on 70 x 100 cm (inkjet, I don’t want the print itself add anything to the photo besides making it bigger) with a white border from around 10 cm’s on each side. The prints will be mounted on foam board to keep them from fluctuating in the frame and then framed in black aluminum frames without glass.

The order of the images has also changed. First I wanted to present them in the same manner Mondriaan did, the final image, the result by that I mean, in the middle. But “Narcist” fits better in the middle, not just qua meaning and thoughts behind it, but also qua look of the image. It just fits better there hence the choice.

Anyway, I am looking forward to some more reactions on this work! Have a great evening!

-Indra


Alexander Simays Part 1

Some time ago a friend of mine, Angelina Valleau, pointed me towards photos of Alexander Simays. He documented Maastricht a long time ago, between 1912 and 1940. Lots of the places he photographed no longer exist the way they do now. Angelina mentioned the photos having been made using the wet plate collodion process. That of course raised my interest. However, after having seen his images I wasn’t convinced they were made using collodion but rather on dry plates as that was the way to go from around the 1880’s. Much less of a hassle.

Alexander Simays - Self Portrait August 1933

Alexander Simays - Self Portrait August 1933

Having said that I went on with my life and came up with the idea, after having totally forgotten about Mr. Simays work, to photograph Maastricht in Collodion. Not so much because of the now but with the idea of it becoming really interesting in 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years from now. Maastricht is still changing pretty rapidly and I think it’s awesome to look back in a few years to be remembered of what has changed exactly. Memories tend to let down when aging. When I told a friend my idea and that there was a photographer from approx. 100 years ago who did the same he was like..why don’t you photograph the exact same locations he did? Still can’t believe I didn’t come up with that myself 😉

So, I bought the book “Maastrichtse Monumentenzorg in ZwartWit” written by Ingrid M.H. Evers and published by Stichting Historische Reeks Maastricht. This book documents the changes in the policy of Maastricht regarding monumental care between the 1850’s and 1900’s. guided by the commissioned work of Alexander Simays, photographs of Maastricht (monuments) between 1912 and 1940.

Maastrichtse Monumentenzorg in ZwartWit - ISBN: 90 5842 007 8

Maastrichtse Monumentenzorg in ZwartWit - ISBN: 90 5842 007 8

Today I received the book and was so excited to see that all the information on date and locations was carefully logged by Alexander Simays. This will most obviously come in handy when trying to nail those exact spots.

Needless to say I’m extremely looking forward to starting with this project although “finishing” will take up quite a bit of time. I mentioned wanting to make this series on 4×10″ but after having seen his photographs 8×10″ will be the size to go as it will resemble the original proportions better. 4×10″ will be used for “my own” images.

-Indra

P.S. permission asked and granted to use the self portrait of Alexander Simays.


Just an Update

Since it’s been awhile and I started talking about my newest series before I “left” I thought it to be good to post some updates.

There aren’t many really.

My head has been dead for a while now and can’t seem to find the inspiration to get going with these new series; whatever the concept may be. “La Vérité” might get a different angle of view as the second photo I made, the nude one with the high heels, is not something I would like to hang on the walls knowing that it’s me you’ll see on the photo. Call me prudish or whatever but certain footage of me is not really meant for all of you. Even if it’s a completely manipulated image it still is me. So, that idea gets put on a hold for now. I could work with a model but seriously, I don’t need nude strange people in front of my camera. Heck, I don’t even want just strange people in front of my camera. So, there goes that…

I’ve a couple of more thoughts and ideas but it just doesn’t seem to be getting to a point where I’m able to make something coherent for more than 1 image. Maybe I should take a week of at work and sit home alone all day or something. My head is just too busy with other stuff and leaves me very little room to actually think about a project or whatever thoughts I may be having, about anything really. In other words I’m stuck. Luckily everything comes to an end, so I keep telling myself.

The good part is that the camera I’m having made by Blackart Woodcraft is finally on its way to me! I do have to figure out something that I want to photograph though. Maybe I should take that week off… Anyway, on to some photos made by Steve of the camera right before he sent it to me:

Front of Camera

Front of Camera

Back of Camera

Back of Camera

I am looking forward to receiving it; this Thursday should be the big day but can’t seem to read any updates on its status via FedEx so just hoping for the best 😉

I also just bought an Acute-Matte D ground glass for my Hasselblad so I’ll finally have less trouble focusing. Looking forward to that as well, should arrive this week too hopefully. Reminds me, still have to develop my films from Barcelona huhum..there still is stuff to do!

Anyway, I guess that is it. Nothing much as you can see. Hope to be showing some new plates soon though; I can’t wait to get started making them.

Cheers,

Indra

 

 


La Vérité / Fashion Ridicule

To continue the concept explained in the former post I will post what I had in mind first and how I’ve changed my mind into something I will work on starting in a bit.

I thought of photographing my graduation work on Collodion first but the graduation work has text in the images. After that body of work I wasn’t so sure anymore the text was needed as the series on its own were very capable of conveying the story. But since it has been made on film there was nothing I could do to change that and redoing the photographs is something I will never do as it they took so much effort in making. Most of the photos have been redone 3, 4, 5 or even 6 times to get them right. Self portraits are not the most easy thing to do but it was very rewarding in the end.

Unfortunately when I exhibited the work when it was done there was a draft which caused the images to flip over on the wall, scraping over the wall and ended up being severely damaged. After all this work it was like a stab through the heart and never felt like redoing any of them.

4x5" Tintype

4x5" Tintype ( I love the hands!)

So…last Friday I took an image to photograph on Collodion to see what the result would be. The text kind of faded a bit due to Collodion registrating things slightly different than normal film. And that made me decide it was not suitable.

BGA 18x24 cm

BGA 18x24 cm

Last night I couldn’t sleep and finally had the time to rethink my concept all over. I decided I would make digital images in studio, self portraits, modify them in Photoshop to make them look like the horribly altered magazine-photos where nothing is real anymore, and than rephotograph them on Collodion. That way I would combine 2 extremes in techniques and perfection vs. non-perfection. More to follow on that soon!


Mutilated Dolls

I have always wanted to do something with dolls. They can look so remote, so similar to humans,  apathetic and you can use them to create / emphasize those similarities without abusing a real human being. Recently I was wondering about what subject to photograph now that I passed the first experimental stages of working with Collodion. Dolls popped up in my mind so I decided to buy some. I ended up with three dolls that I took home with me and prepared for the first shoot.

The first idea was to burn their  faces, humans wear masks and I want to make masks in an ugly way to express how they make me feel. The cruelty of humans for it to show, the insincerity, the fakeness. I used a small torch to burn the faces and a screw driver to demolish the eyes. The latter actually felt pretty weird to execute, to bash in those eyes with a screw driver almost made me feel like a terrible person, maybe I am, haha. Anyway, a photo before and after; don’t mind the quality; there are better ways of photographing than using an iPhone but it does the job for these purposes:

Before: Them bloody happy dolls

Before: Them bloody happy dolls

After, the one on the left worked out the best, the middle one still has some modifications coming its way ;)

After: the one on the left worked out the best, the middle one still has some modifications coming its way 😉

I tried to shoot a collodion plate that night with the emphasize on tried as my silver bath contained too little silver to make it happen…fixed that first and have to try again very soon. They are waiting for destiny to strike their fates 😉