Writing with light: Dries Segers strips photography down to its essence and allows sunlight to fall on photographic emulsion. The results are abstract and astonishingly poetic images.
"Instead of you seeing the light here the light sees you,” the wall of the gallery in the Botanique announces. It is the first line of a poem written by musician Philippe François – of the band Philippe François and His Trust Fund – for Dries Segers’s work. It is the perfect start to an exhibition that pays tribute to sunlight.
As a photographer, Segers (1990) swears by the uncontrolled. He prefers to let the camera do the work. He doesn’t photograph what he sees, but subjects photography itself to exciting research. Taking photographs is like writing with light that reflects off objects and materials. Segers looks for ways to make this light visible. The physical phenomenon is more interesting than the subject itself.
In order to make the invisible visible, Segers goes back to analogue photography, which captures images on light-sensitive film or photographic emulsion. For “Hits of Sunshine” Segers abandons the objective. Rays of sunshine fall unfiltered across the photosensitive material. The ray penetrates the emulsion, creating tracks of light that vary from blue to purple and are cut by light waves. The incredible result is almost other-worldly. Are these not images of a distant galaxy?
But Segers’s exploration of the effects of sunlight goes even further. A portrait with a sunspot on the face, the reflection of the sun on water, a magnifying glass that can turn a ray of sunshine into fire and flame.
In Seeing a Rainbow, a work from 2015, the young photographer exhibits all his love for light and colour. In the grey, industrialised Flemish landscape, he unexpectedly discovers a rainbow: from an oil stain to a haemorrhage of blood and a soaked carpet. Dries Segers treats the dull landscape in a lyrical manner.
Whether he is chasing rainbows or experimenting with light, Segers’s work is meticulous and built on a solid foundation. At the other exhibition in the Botanique, “Fabulous Failures”, the photographer is showing his series of undecided photographs, but it is his solo show that really astonishes us. This is a rising star at which we are happy to gaze.
> Dries Segers: Hits of Sunshine. > 23/07, Botanique, Sint-Joost-ten-Node