not in Kansas - Vicky Martin
the "not in Kansas" series
is a series of constructed narratives, inspired by the tenacious, self-reliant character Dorothy from “the wonderful wizard of oz”.
her particular narrative resonates with me on multiple levels: she exudes strength and independence but, is also vulnerable and willing to accept and admit to experiencing feelings of self-doubt.
Dorothy is not a one-dimensional character, and it is her nuanced personality, created not just in baum's original text, but also in her near-mythical status in popular culture, that i seek to explore and convey to the viewer.
in particular, her journey of self-discovery overcomes fear and loneliness to become empowered and assertive in a strange land, inspired me to create narratives which blur the boundaries between fantasy and truth, offering scenarios within which the protagonist wrestles with feelings of confidence, determination and boldness but is conflicted with ideas of isolation, detachment and fear.
pure as snow - Vicky Martin
red - Vicky Martin
the "Selfhood" series
is in part inspired by the proverb "the eyes are the window to the soul" and a desire to challenge the need to see the eyes within a portrait.
the intention in each portrait is to create a character and a narrative and encourage an empathy without the visual stimulation of the eyes.
the viewer is inspired to make their own inferences about the subject's persona and circumstance by drawing on personal connections and interpretations to each image, whether these be from memory or culture. therefore each portrait in the series can take on a number of different identities depending on links made by the viewer to their own experiences and opinions.
through the looking glass - Vicky Martin
the "Curioser and Curioser" series
is a conceptual series of photographs influenced by the story “Alice's adventures in wonderland”.
i was inspired to create this series from personally identifying with the theme of not belonging that features prominently in Alice's narrative.
immersed in a world of make-believe, Alice shows her courage and strength by being able to successfully navigate through a fantasy land, appearing more at home in this wonderland than that of victorian society.
in my series, the modern-day wonderland of las vegas provides the backdrop for the protagonist to discover, struggle with, and eventually come to terms with her own feelings of not fitting in.
Patrick Van der Elst
marguerite - Patrick Van der Elst
This picture was made by my wife, my oldest son and me. It is a mesh structure that I had modeled to look like a vulva. I had picked about 1500 wild daisies. They faded so quickly that I had to call on them to help me set all these flowers into the structure.
So it is a vulva, that seems obvious. It is amazing to read the plethora of comments mentioning a vagina. Is this indicative of the poor overall knowledge of female anatomy?
All those flowers whose implantation brings up the image of a vulva are themselves sexual organs of the green world. So it is a simple implicit analogy between two beauties. I wanted to try to talk about the vulva in another field than anatomy or pornography.
oxytocin - Patrick Van der Elst
A multitude of hands embrace the body of a woman with her back to us. One could see in it the symbol of a kind of adoration, the excessive and sickly admiration of a woman raised to the rank of goddess by a crowd inclined to adulation.
Personally, I see it as a dress, as a huge caress, or rather as a multitude of simultaneous caresses covering a large part of the body. "The reason for this is because it is one of the hormones released by the embrace, the hormone of peace and tranquillity, and the resulting well-being is said to promote the feeling of trust in others and the attachment of one person to another.
With this photo I want to thumb my nose at the gloomy atmosphere that oozes from the media and multiple social networks, with consent, harassment, coercion, violence, enslavement, etc. as the main theme in the name of an ever more upright morality.
FIV - Patrick Van der Elst
Unrestrained consumerism, the commodification of life, the patenting of DNA sequences, the exponential progress of biotechnology, biopiracy, ...
Where should we stop? What progress do we want? What risks to make us less human? We would like to be able to open this sanitized and deshumanized cupboard.
vanity - Patrick Van der Elst
This photo dates from 2015, one could say "in tempore non suspecto", like an anticipation of what is happening to us now.
There is, in the search for a certain coquetry symbolized here by the matching of the gas mask to this lady's clothes, a strange sensation that arises. Two contradictory feelings. There is an impression of great futility, an inane attitude, a kind of denial of reality: how can one care about one's aesthetic appearance when the world seems to be running to its ruin and the air has become unbreathable? It seems vain, meaningless. But there is also a wonder, a surprise to see this lady trying to restore or maintain a little beauty and poetry in the middle of this chaos.
swimming lesson - Patrick Van der Elst
The swimming lesson in which a flock of vinyl babies whose end is not visible swim in organized rows behind their probable mother.
There is a geometric structure in the water, it is an urban, contemporary place, we are not in the middle of a wild water body. It is therefore a scene of wild animal life, of newborns barely born and already busy swimming, trying to survive in the face of the harsh and implacable law of natural selection, following the nurturing mother, confident that numbers will allow the survival of a few.
But this is all wrong, of course, since there is the reassuring presence of these stairs as evidence of a controlled world. There will be no selection, welcome to the protected and secure world of the human being.
look me in the eyes - Patrick Van der Elst
"Look me in the eyes" this is what we ask the child who we want to be sincere and not to hide the lie, or when we are about to express ourselves with total sincerity.
The eyes as a direct passage to the self, to the intimate, the secret, the hidden. That's what this young girl does, she looks us straight in the eyes.
But there are all these other eyes stuck all over her body. Is it precisely there that we cannot help but put our eyes? Is this a warning from the girl? Leave my body, my nudity, my sensuality out of it. Or is it exactly the opposite idea. Lay eyes all over me.