Past dusk under mere moonlight, the quiet land seemed lifeless. Yet this misleading sense of emptiness gave rise to another form of life.
Barely heard, rarely ever seen. Quickly flash above with no guaranteed sign of existence. I could sense that I was being watched, which intrigued me as to how my presence was being portrayed.
My assignment at the time was creating a series of self-portraits. I’ve never found a keen interest in having people, let alone myself, as photographic subjects. Instead, I chose to capture my image as observed by the mysterious creatures of the dark.
I’d spent a good few nights roaming through the groves, sitting under the trees, doing my best to predict their next move whilst they did mine. Only to quickly capture what we all saw.
The Self-portrait collection is available as an independent art book.
The name self-portrait is partly cynical, as the assignment called for at least 10 self-portraits. Throughout this series, however, my portrait stays behind the camera. Instead, I have turned my camera on creatures that people don't often pay close attention to - flying foxes (Megachiroptera).
This series had me accepted to art school in 2016. Since then, however, it had laid deep in a dusty drawer. So, I decided to turn this series into an independently published art book. I collaborated with a master bookbinder from the Netherlands and together we produced a limited edition of 100 copies, all hand-bound.
I was invited by the bookbinder to his workshop in the Netherlands to share the work. I was very happy to have the opportunity to learn about bookbinding techniques, but also to leave my fingerprint not only on the contents in the book, but also on the book itself.
The production of the book was fairly complex and took over 2 years. We developed a unique technique that shows the 3 different points of view in the story, each in its own format. This isn't a standard book. The unusual binding not only serves as a platform for the content inside, but also makes the book a work of art in itself.
Each spreadsheet in the book is a small episode that makes up the whole story. One episode shows the staging, which the viewer sees first, and inside, what the photographer sees and what the subjects see.
I chose to focus my camera on something so commonplace. Suddenly the subjects are frozen in an image that shows, for once, how they look at us. This book allows the viewer to see my portrait as portrayed by the heroes in the photos, rather than a typical self-portrait showing the person.
The artist independently published SelfPortrait, with the help of patrons that crowed-funded the production by securing an early-bird copy of the book. Limited 100 runs were produced. No industrial techniques were exercised, each copy was treated and assembled by hand.