Plants & Animals
25 x 18,5 cm, Offset printed, 51 color photos
Words by Andreas Ervik >>>
Design by Petra Merschbrock & Sverre Strandberg
Kerber Verlag, 2016
The project started after a visit to Berlin Botanical garden in 2014. I had brought my 35mm camera there not knowing what photos to make. But at the time I was tired of overthinking photography. I was searching for the thing that sparked my interest before knowing to much of art history.
My interest in photography started with making home movies on Super 8. I was experimenting with a Super 8 camera using it as a snapshot camera. I would record just a few frames for every shot and then when projected everything looked like superimposed. The motifs being whatever: people, objects or architecture.
These films made reality look mixed up and unreal to me. When putting techno music on top it stimulated something in me I haven’t' found back later, something that felt so organic.
Back to the botanical garden: here everyone is taking photos. Me as well. I went around to look for the things that stand out, could be the leaf of an exotic three or a stone formation in the Japanese garden. Anything that felt unique. The usual approach when making snapshots.
But I realised I was doing just what everyone else was doing. So in panic I started to double expose every frame on the film. it's fairly simple with the Nikon FE (from the 1970-s). You just hold down a small button and charge the shutter again for the second exposure.
Now everything became two in stead of one. In stead of being the one unique flower it became two copies of that flower, but in one unique photo and that makes the big difference. The photo itself become the unique entity, not what is being photographed. At least this is what I felt doing it.
More importantly it gave me an intense feeling of happiness. When everyone was going around there making single shots I was making double shots. It felt like I was the subject creating in stead of of just the operator of the photographic machinery.
So after doing this and going back and forth to the botanical garden many times, I developed a feel for what kind double exposure I was looking for. Often those taken close in time, that almost look like mistakes, appealed to the most to me. Or those that had patterns created on the surface.
With these pictures I like to think that the chemistry plays a part of the expression. Two images combined this way looks different than they would combined digitally. A random factor is introduced. After a couple of rounds in the botanical the zoo was also included in the project.