Pictures Are Not Real –

Pictures are everywhere. They live on our phones, get SMS-ed to friends, and shared on social media. They capture our personal moments and illustrate art, news items and books. They’re used to enhance branding and get commercially ‘designed’ & used in advertising – everywhere we go, we are chaperoned by pictures. Pictures live online, on our hard drives, get printed to paper and framed onto our walls. Pictures are hung in galleries. We love sharing pictures. Pictures ‘say a lot’ – as they say. But pictures are not real.

The moment a picture is taken, reality gets twisted. We all like to think we can capture a true moment that existed in time and place but images are only thin representations of that very moment. Every scene consists of an infinite number of perspectives. Leaning just 10 mm to the left while taking a picture creates a new perspective, a new interpretation of that same moment. It can produce a recognizable slice of reality but it will remain an ambiguous representation of a reality that is much bigger, more wholesome, encompassing, universal.

Manipulating and framing these slices of reality, turns every photographer into some kind of artist. Pictures express individuality, creativity and perspective. The artist is the manipulator, not the performer. The true performer in every picture is light. Light changes and directs every view, every angle, all the colours we perceive. Chance plays a significant secondary role. A winter landscape stripped of its colours creating a black and white world. An empty bench. A swinging lamp.

I often find myself looking for elements of abstraction: framing natural, existing lines to form a pattern in the confined space of the picture – or reversely (and perversely) – intentionally blurring the image to strip it down to a much more reduced and abstract whole. Abstraction is a form of representation too. To do it well, is an art. Nonfigurative art, wrote Mondrian, “shows that ‘art’ is not the expression of the appearance of reality such as we see it, nor the life we live, but that it is the expression of true reality and the true life… Thus we must distinguish between two kinds of reality, one which has an individual character, and one which has an universal appearance.”

I wanted to create a space for some of my images to live, and to be accessible. Although most of my web design work is in WordPress these days, I built a site in pure HTML and CSS, specifically for this purpose. The coding is clean & lean, the interface kept minimal. None of the photographs have been edited in Photoshop, no filters have been added. Just as I love clean & lean code, I like the idea of non-manipulated ‘slices of reality’. Even though we can’t have it, we still strive for things to be ‘real’. And perhaps that is part of what drives making art.


Pictures by Anka



View my images here:

Cameras: Canon S100 and Nikon D5000 (SLR)