The act of looking at photographs is primarily a personal and private affair. It is integral to the attentive nature of photography: we are looking at somebody looking. “Every photograph is a certification of presence” as Roland Barthes (1980, p.87) puts it. When Barthes (1980) talks about photography it is always about the singular image. The studium is the flow of images that arouse a kind of general interest, and have a general meaning that is available and obvious to everyone (like a newspaper photograph). It is when a detail, a gesture, a ‘partial object’ attracts our attention, the punctum of the photograph pierces through. It activates the viewer, derives a personal relationship, and fixes in our mind without vanishing.
Aqcuaintances Jolien, is a work that consists out of two light boxes, both are showing the same photograph of a young woman, sitting in front of a window. The sun is softly touching her skin, and lights up the little hairs of her eyelashes, she gazes into the camera with a slight awkwardness. The background plays a vital part in the picture, the lightness, the soft blue colours that suggest a landscape that stretches out to infinity. The light from the box pierces through the photograph, as if the light in her face comes from an internal source.
The space between the two lightboxes allows our eyes to gaze from subject to background and compose a story. Perhaps the punctum of the picture , the light on her eyelashes, reminds us of something else.
Barthes, R. (1980) Camera lucida. 22nd ed. London: Vintage, Random house group
Lightbox: Backlit print mounted on acrylic, lights, oak
H x W x D
20 x 25 x 8 cm
40 x 40 x 25 cm