Highly refined yet ever-evolving, the work of this photographer started with portraiture, moved through landscapes and seascapes, and has for a time now focused on architecture, capturing even conventional structures in amazing ways.
WebUrbanist recently asked Joel Tjintjelaar of BWVision more about his history, process and transition from taking photographs to also teaching photography and post-processing techniques. The resulting interview follows below.
While the results of his recent work may look like a fine stylistic stopping point to some, Joel states: “My workflow has changed gradually over time and will continue to change. It will never stop changing and it should never stop changing. The day I stop evolving is the day I should quit creating images.”
In part, the evolution of that work is tied to the teaching he does in at workshops in real life and also online via master classes and videos like this one on long exposure workflow. Teaching, he notes, “forces me to be critical at my own work as well and to try to understand my own photography better, and more importantly: what drives me to create the pictures I [take] …. I teach them that fine art photography is not so much about technical qualities and skills but more about being able to express who you really are in a way that offers a completely new point of view for the viewer and leaves him changed.”
In an Paris apartment with just over 200 square feet, it is almost impossible to imagine anything but the more bare essentials resulting a boring space. But that is where illumination enters the equation, flooding in to add depth and complexity to this abode. This, then, is a short story of light.
The architects, Betillon | Dorval?Bory, examined the limited space available architecturally, but also scientifically, testing the type and quality of the natural light to be found (and then suggesting what should be carefully introduced) across the existing interior zones.
A single wall was introduced, dividing the main bedroom area from daytime activity spaces like the kitchen, but not just (nor even primarily) as a visual barrier – it was intentionally and most-importantly designed to be a backdrop for two types of light.
On the ‘night’ side: a diffused orange streetlamp glow of the after-hours city that we associate with evening, which washes the walls in a more monochromatic direction (suited for sleeping and showering). On the ‘day’ side, a pure all-purpose white of the kind found in active spaces like offices – one which allows us to see things in black and color as well (suited for cooking and gathering).
Notably, the ‘night’ side lights can also be turned off (or overpowered by daylight), allowing the entire place to ‘open’ into a single space. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that physical objects are not the only things that form (or inform) the nature of space. Spatial variety can come via intangible elements like illumination, which in turn can serve equally powerful functions in fleshing out a space – particularly a small place with little room for solid decor.
Imagine the state of it: the United States executive mansion after 150 years of continuous occupation. By this time, the already-aging White House had retrofit with a maze of modern amenities like plumbing, electricity and heating – none of which this expansive estate was constructed to house.
Per reporter Brian Resnick, sagging ceilings, scaffolding and supports had rendered the structure an unsanitary fire hazard by the late 1940s – some suggested scrapping it entirely and starting from scratch, but President Truman lobbied to keep and rehabilitate it.
As these amazing photographs from the National Archives & Truman Library illustrate, the entire interior had to be ripped out. Historically valuable materials and decor were meticulously cataloged and stored, and temporary steel columns and beams erected to keep the exterior from collapsing.
To get equipment like bulldozers inside and clear debris required disassembling machines to avoid bursting holes in the sides of the structure – rebuilding would have been cheaper and faster, but this careful treatment preserved irreplaceable pieces of US history.
In all rooms and on all levels, lathe, plaster, brick and mortar were laid bare, giving a unique one-time view – fortunately captured in photographs – into the hidden structure and secret architecture of the most important residence in America.
Dubbed “The Panic Room” nonetheless, this daring overnight dwelling space is not for those seeking visual peace or artistic quite, more likely to cause than curb panicky impulse (quite the opposite of a traditional panic room).
Graffiti artist Tilt added his unique touches to this room in the Au Vieux Panier Hotel of Marseille, France. It is one of five art spaces, each with its own visual theme featuring the work of a single graphic designer or painter.
“The idea is to sleep in an artwork” and “all rooms are changed every year,” so if you want to see one you have to hop on a plane fast before the next season rolls around. Each process involves a call for entries and a hand-selected group of resulting artists.
For those that win, there are no rules. Moreover, they are given a full month during which the hotel is closed in which to create their work. And in the end, the lodgings are surprisingly inexpensive: just 135 Euros per night to stay inside this particular street-art masterpiece.
Everything about the room is informed by the design concept, from surfaces to accessories, right down to the bed sheets custom-crafted for the room in question. Then, as in a gallery, the work is taken down and rooms reinvented once again.
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