Photography always contains elements of death and loss. Without a doubt, photos picture what things looked like, back when the photo was made. Photos can depict the future, but never picture it. Even the present is impossible to picture. Photos are past tense, whether perfect past tense or not.

History pictured can be warped because photography is a devious medium, even when a photographer tries his utmost to avoid this.


Johan Niels does not make an effort to hide the unreality from sight, but instead tries to emphasize it. On the one hand he dissects his personal notion of beauty, an on the other hand the image of reality, only to ultimately arrive at the reality of an image. A devised miscommunication, a wordless counter of his analytic eloquence. A mechanic way to temporarily interrupt the internal dialogue, since thoughts occur before and after making a photo, but never while an image is made. When a scene is framed, a moment is chosen and the shutter is tripped, the mind is blank. At least, that's the case with Johan Niels. It's a shutter trip.

 

 

    • Demolished buildings and lost cityscapes from his birth and home town of Assen are one aspect of his work. Often shot on film, often in color. Realism galore here. While the reality shown still has become a false one, since completely past tense.

       

    • Surrealist work in film noir style creates a brave new world which at the same time appears very archaic. Here, images are created both digital and on film, where a score of film sizes and image aspects are used. Hard light and shadows help create the image, sharp and unfocused images oppose each other.

       

    • In portraiture, an attempt is made to grasp the essence of a person or a moment. Film and digital, color or monochrome, various film sizes and image aspects are used.

       

    • In funeral photography which is offered as a service to society, the element of loss is shimmering though in its rawest form: even at the very moment where the image of the deceased in a coffin is made, it already pictures a life past.

 

 

 

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Lost cityscape in Assen: Post office parking lot. 2007.
 
 
 
 

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birds of prayer 

 

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 midnight collection

 

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