I created “Fragments” to further explore the notions of fragility and eternity, as well as to visually defy the chaotic compositions from the “Innocence” series. In contrast, these new pieces made with butterfly wings are serene, minimalist and more abstract. They dive into the realm of primitivism, with a deep relationship between form, space and color. Once viewed together with “Innocence”, they now become a whole as they carry the same DNA.
These photographs are based on speed and movement, as well as light and colors. Instead of capturing an image in a fraction of a second like in the “Innocence” series, they were technically created thanks to the reversed process, which is the slow capture of time. A technique that could be compare to drawing or painting with light thanks to a camera.
In real life, the colors of the butterflies come from the reflection of light on their scales, which are covering by millions their wings. These extremely tiny scales that cling loosely to the wing and come off easily, up close, look like pigments. As a kid, I had noticed it when catching them, even with great caution, that butterfly wings would color the tip of my fingers. This observation, as well as the symbolic reference to the extreme fragility of life, led me to this new approach for the second part of “The unavoidable temporality of existence” project.
I challenge myself to create these abstract architectonic compositions by using the same key elements from the “Innocence” series—cardboards of solid colors, silver foil (as reflectors) and light—in addition to the colors of the butterfly wings.
This time, when making these pieces, the cardboards were directly in contact with the butterfly wings, which enabled me to isolate the colors efficiently as if the wings were one big single scale of one color. Technically, I achieved this result, thanks to the fast motion of a handheld camera and by dragging the shutter as I was taking the photographs—literally like painting with light. Without using Photoshop, this method turned out to be the best solution to not only erase what I call the “veins” (which are the dark lines holding the actual wing together), but also the unwanted colored spots. It allowed me to capture each wing as a solid color and to use them then like if they were natural “pigments”.
The other important part in the making of this series, is that I utilized my camera like a microscope with the cardboards as laboratory slides. Keeping the lens at an extremely short distance (about half an inch) from the matter (the wings and the cardboards) emphasized the abstract effect that I was looking for. It made the pieces appear as a floating atmosphere of shapes and colors, out of the universe of the infinitesimally small and the infinitesimally big.
The “Fragments” compositions are as vibrant as the “Innocence” pieces, but they are calmer, even though they have technically been achieved with great motion and speed. The colors, which in the making necessitated very little amount of light, radiate against each other exceptionally because of the reflection generated by the silver foil. To my surprise and because of the way they have been achieved—with the use of motion and colors—some of the pieces can recall works by abstract expressionist painters such as Mark Rothko or Helen Frankenthaler.
When looked at up-close, these large-scale photographs reveal extremely rich and diaphanous gradients in the sections where the colors meet. This quality gives the pieces a greater depth and an ethereal feeling, with a spirituality that seams to emanate from within and only feasible thanks to the photography medium.