Family Portraits at Chapelle D’Aymeries, Cést Extra, 2021
I was there. I have travelled. I saw the world. I have been (re)connected to my planet. I exist.
At a time when everyone takes selfies that are supposed to tell you who you are, to show your life in a biased light and to place you on the scale of cool: what does it mean to erase yourself in a photograph? What does it mean to erase yourself from a photograph, to leave only a trace of your passage without any narcissism?
The timelessness of these special kind of self-portraits is what strikes you most when you see the works in the Family Portraits series by Inka & Niclas. Here we are in the presence of a loving and humble attitude towards nature, a connection to the human species in a way that is not individual but rather like the filaments of light that link us together, as Carlos Castaneda describes in his book “Devil’s Grass and the Small Smoke”, when he talks about the Yaqui Indians’ vision of the relationship between living beings.
These sublime photographs give a strong impression of spirituality, universality and at the same time a strong modernity. The process used by the artists and their children, namely to dress in reflective suits that are illuminated by powerful flashes, has the gift of creating a luminous halo effect that erases their features from the photograph. It is striking. All that remains of them is a dazzling aura, a light of life, touching our hearts instantly because we can all recognize ourselves in this illuminated human form: their family. Their family is at the centre of this series: their children are present with them in the image and we see them grow up as they travel, as they are shot, as time passes. And it’s a bit of humanity that we see growing up in these superb settings that are the landscapes they have chosen as their destination.
And this is what resonates when you know the way this couple of photographers work, with their total coolness and clear vision: working while traveling, with their family, visiting non-touristy places, or on the contrary very frequented but shown, captured, differently, a reflection off the beaten track. Wearing reflective clothing, reflecting the light, including their children in the creative process, living in harmony with the place, staying there for a long time, as long as it takes. Discovering the world. And finding meaning in it, making sense of it.
This non-eternal condition of perishable human beings, half-alien/half-luminous egg, is given an almost mystical force by the fact that it is hung in the Aymeries Chapel. The light boxes backlighting the magnificent prints in impressive format add an unstoppable power to the effect. It is a real journey that is both hypnotizing and soothing. We are projected into a magical universe, which gives the impression of a great humanity, a great brotherhood. The human being not as an individual but as a beacon in the night.
Becoming light, becoming water, ice, fire, all at the same time.
Such beauty emanates from these works that it is a real sensory and spiritual experience to be able to appreciate them in this setting that is conducive to silence and a certain form of recollection, of availability.