Artist Statement








Every photograph reminds of the passing of time. The referent to the actual scenery is swallowed by the silver nitrate, transformed by the eye of the camera and the chemical development, as a layer of dust over the actual happening. As time moves on, the photograph fixates the traces of the past. But to what time does the photograph refer, what past does it reflect? Often our conception of the past is shaped or distorted by imagery. I seem to remember actual events from my childhood even before I could remember, just by seeing them as photographs. The photograph implanted this memories often without them even happening.

Since the revelation of mass media, photography is used as means of power. Photographs have been used and manipulated in order to shape collective memory. With the democratization of the camera the role of images only increased, often without a way to verify its authenticity. In the fastness of photojournalistic reports it often lacks time to zoom out into a wider scope. What the photograph also offers is a way to look back into history, a way to reflect upon the past from the present. It makes it possible to research traumas from the past and reconsider its traces.

Although my work involves a lot of research I do not chase any strict claim to reality or truth. I’d rather like to reframe the subjective singularity of a photograph into a broader framework. When working in my atelier I therefore often feel like an archivist of my own images, collecting and organizing bits of information into a wider context, with the constant demand for reinterpretation and postponement of judgment. I see the photographer as a collector of evidence, a collector of traces. The photograph as proof for something that has or has not been questioned.

Mainly I do not only focus on the photograph as an image, but rather on the photograph as context. Therefore, documents, archive material, found footage… could be part of the work. Also staging and intervening in the photograph is one of my methods Performative actions, both in video as in photographs are oftent part of the work.

Using different analogue techniques slows me down and makes the act of photographing more aware. Resulting from the analogue process is the influence of ‘errors’. The photographic process transforms reality according to its own logics. The lens of the camera opens up for a fundamental different way of perception. The image uses a metaphorical language that is incomplete and undefined. The power of photography takes place in this defect. What is real when the autonomous photographic process alters reality in a way that the eye could never see? Is a picture a reflection or absorption of the actual event?

2021 Copyright Tim Theo Deceuninck