These photographs are not about place, time or actuality. Homeless Images, “misfits” one could say what is may be a too burdened a term, considering the movie by that name, are images which have no past or future nor a today. They always are taken in the past, trying to become readable in the future, and the future is on the moment when they are looked at, and for that is not defined in time. That’s when they exists, going from private to public.
I think they do not fit in the established categories, which various researchers on photography have described and are accepted as an analytical system. These systems by the way are very useful and helped me a lot in looking at and thinking on photography.
Of course I could be very wrong, that is allowed, I’m only the photographer not the theorist in these matter, so don’t shoot the photographer. Don’t believe what the artist says, look at what he does. In my humble belief [well sometimes not so humble] these images roam somewhere between and through these systems. Just like the homeless.
My images are as divers as mankind is, and in this case I am. There is not one way to look at my photographs, there are many ways. They are my self-made illusion; a make- believe-, or a new world that is created by signs, meaning en sub-meanings (pilfered from reality) visualised through my photography. The paradoxical relationship photography has with the visual world is extremely suitable for my purpose. Through transfer of content, the signs I try arrange photographical, become icons and metaphors.
Nothing has a meaning in itself. Maker and viewer attribute value to the image on the basis of perception, which can be understood from an agreement made consciously or sub-consciously within our social, political, cultural framework, but always seen from a perspective of daily life. The human presence in my images, in relation to the created context is essential: “created not in the sense of “staged’. The world is for me a kind of theatre, an archive of images in which I’m constantly surprised, irritated, astonished, moved, where al my emotions are pulled. I’m the outsider within. I always participate active or passive, in an intuitive- and impulsive way on things or people that may be, in the right angel, frame and moment fall in place in my mind and hopefully on film. I work from the belly and reflect on it afterwards
I look at my where about, through my third eye, a minds eye that is suspiciously similar to the angel and focal plane of the camera!. “I hope that I’m spared to have to say that my best images are only in my mind’s eye and there for not visual. It happens sometimes when the world and equipment does not function the way you suppose the do. Or it is true that my best images are made without my camera. “ Sometimes waiting for a long time when I sense, by intuition and sometimes calculation that this is the place if any will happen it’s here. And sometimes wandering around, it’s there.... in a split second. I wander from place to, like the homeless, from moment to moment, from situation to situation. I sometime find images I was ’t even looking for. I recognise sometime the unsuspected. In my photographs the human presence refers to us, not to the represented individuals. We are the subjects
The apparent coincidence of things and people, their structural tensions and relationships (without hierarchical compulsion or order) determine the content. The individual as they appear is a reflection and illumination of the universal. After every image taken, I attempting to sweep my mind clean, trying to see the world for the first time without the fatigue or routine in which so often subjects or situations immerse or disappear completely. I hope that content given to my images, traverses the topical and momentary. When I’m at work I can only recognise what I carry already in me, my images, seen through my mirror or my window? Trying too succeed, in stripping away the reality and reveal my or the hidden world behind that reality. I’m constantly arranging in a reflex and response to my subjects, bringing them together in within my focal plane . Sometimes there is, I think, a moment in the continuous flow of every day- images in which all my subjects fall into place. That’s the moment my world is created and my happiness is there. That is my joy in photography. My idea of coherence of things and people: that’s what it is al about.
Prof.Dr. J.Swinnen, VUB Brussel, photohistorian, curator, BE.