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A DESCENDING JOURNEY TO HELL


"Raised Motif No.10"


I was fortunate to spend some time shooting in the Swartberg Mountains near Prince Albert a few years ago. During the expedition, I visited a place known as "De Hell", an abandoned farming settlement situated in a deep gorge surrounded by very high mountains. This area is steeped in history, dating back to the early settlers of the 1800s. Today you can gain access to "De Hell" via a steep, narrow gravel road, just wide enough for one car.


I had heard much of this area and had always wanted to visit to do some photography. After a couple of days in the gorge, I got frustrated by the quality of the light. You see the surrounding mountains blanket both the eastern and western horizon, so you never experience the beautiful early morning and late afternoon light there.


I wanted to stay for longer, so I abandoned the idea of landscape photography and decided to turn to a similar multiple exposure technique to previously used in the Rhythmus Collection.


So I started to photograph trees in the valley using three exposures, one in focus, one out of focus, and one exposure of textures and organic matter on rocks. An "in-camera" technique, as you can see, delivers a sketch-like, embossed look. It is quite "Arty" and ultimately elevates a subject in average light into a work of art.



I have since printed these abstract prints on various surfaces, including art paper, aluminium, glass or even wood.


To give you more insight, watch this short video taken while visiting De Hell.


I must confess that this place, which carries an undeserving name, a place with character and solitude and unique history, had taught me one valuable lesson. Sometimes, when everyday photographic opportunities are scarce, there is bound to be an artistic solution if you are prepared to experiment.


"Raised Motif No.1" Printed on Aluminum


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