“From today, painting is dead,” Paul Delaroche said when he saw a daguerreotype for the first time. The first ever photograph was taken in 1826 by Nicéphore Niépce and from that moment developed a turbulent relationship between photography and painting. The new invention was in direct competition with the brush, and it obviously represented the reality faster, and in a different and “better” way. Photography changed the perception of the world around us and it soon entered the agenda of the Arts to stay, although not without coming across several detractors who were opposed to the new technique for its immediate and inherently democratic powers. After several decades of ebb and flow, an encounter between both disciplines took place. It was called Pictorialism and dealt with the idea of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination instead of being a simple record of reality. The transition into Modernism from the 19th century well into the 1940s was both slow and determined. However some 20th-century photographers continued to make pictorial photographs since they thought there was no advantage in trying to eradicate Pictorialism, for one would then have to destroy idealism, sentiment and all sense of art and beauty. (1)
An interest in representing the emotional attributes of landscape is very present in this project. The digital photography revolution has now come to a point where the tools at hand allow it to almost compete with painting, yet in a more contemporary way. This series of photographs was taken in the Galapagos Islands in 2010. I wanted to create images which captured the feeling and memory of an extraordinary encounter. This idyllic place where nature and animals live in such harmony that there appear to be no predators except occasional threats from man-made mistakes, such as foreign plants that were brought from foreign countries which wreak havoc on the natural ecosystem.
The Galapagos are located in one of the most active volcanic regions on earth in the Pacific Ocean. The islands were discovered in 1535 and in 1561 the first map of the area was created. In a later map, the following note was included: “Enchanted Islands”. This adjective —in Ecuadorian Spanish “Las Encantadas”— was very appropriate for the mood these images aim to express: a poetical visual meditation of a lonely, untouched and dreamlike landscape.
(1) On Adolf Fassbender in After the Photo-Session: American Pictorial Photography 1910-1955 by Christian Peterson. New York: Norton, 1997, p.160.