In an era where more pictures are taken in 1 day than over the past 100 years of photography, uniqueness is rarer than ever and sought after by many of us. Michel Vaerewijck goes back to the antique techniques of “hyper” analogue photography to craft his unique and moving photos. With an antique charm given by the medium he is using, his photos however have nothing antique. Michel tries to seize a multitude of emotions from his subjects, creating unique moments to capture in front of his lens. As the subject needs to keep the pose for a full minute, the result photograph truly depicts the energy of the person in a way that you can’t see in digital photos.
Photographing for the past 15 years, it is utterly important for Michel to feel connected with his images. Analogue photography, with its meticulous process and the exclusivity of its end result, was the perfect direction for Michel to embark on his photographic journey. From having his glass or aluminum plates custom made, getting the right chemicals and acids, mixing, dissolving, drying… Every step behind this type of photography has a little bit of him; influenced by his state of mind and the connection he has with the model. Even if he would want to make two identical images, he wouldn’t be able to. Each image he creates has its own identity, its own personality.
Throughout his work, he aims to show different sets of emotions, playing with the concepts of power and vulnerability. The majority of his work is built around women, their power of seduction, attraction and fascination which altogether can be combined to a certain vulnerability. Most of the time posing nude, his photos have nothing to do with eroticism but with displaying the human body as it really is.
How does he achieve to get all of this combination of feelings on one single two-dimensional picture? “It’s a constant dialogue between me and the model” says Michel, “ We try to start with a basic emotion, with a declination of related words linked to various situations and thoughts which leads to the creation of a specific and unique emotion. Some of these emotions are sometimes very beautiful and interesting but also the things that are not pretty become pretty because we see them and because we give them a place in our reality. Nothing is taboo.”
What I Can’t Show © 2015 Michel Vaerewijck
Recently, Michel experimented digital photography. Finding that high tech lenses absorb too much light and energy, resulting in not showing as much structure and contrasts as he would like to, he opted for a rather primitive lens. As a result, the image created is abstract and shows the basic pattern of the subject being photographed. With this idea, Michel wishes to divert the spectator’s view from reality so they can focus on what is around it and what they normally don’t see.
As an example, the photo below can be perceived in different ways. Do you see an insect trying to eat or capture something or do you see a man nurturing his the ground and his plants? It’s this ambivalence between these two emotions, these two ideas, one of aggressiveness and one of beauty, which Michel found extremely interesting and brought him to start a new collection: Sharpness Is A Lie.
Where can you see the work of Michel Vaerewijk? You can stop by his studio, C41 – exposure, now located in Antwerp South where he displays his art and also gives the chance to young artists to present their work. He also participates to a few group exhibitions across Belgium.
Follow him via his Facebook page – Michel Vaerewijck – artist page – to know all the latest about his work!
The Art Connector