Charlotte Mariën


About the Project

Is it the task of the photographer to document reality or to shape one? For me, photography is a means to visually represent imaginative ideas. I find it important to stimulate imagination and to keep dreaming. Much of my photographic work consists of night scenes. What I find inspiring about such nightly settings, is how imagination goes in overdrive, trying to fill the voids of blurred or completely hidden entities.

I started doing experimental photography in 2017, driven by my own curiosity about the potential results. I perceived an interesting interplay between practice and imagination: the outcome of experiments triggered my inspiration and led to new ideas to explore. I experimented with smoke, projections, glass, plastics and mirrors. I much prefer those analogue life techniques over digital post-processing. I like the paradox where real elements lead to surreal images. The idea struck me to create a coherent photographic series revolving around such experiments.

My work, ‘Obscurances’ (2019), revolves around a fictional character who seems to be submerged in an alternative reality. The title is a composition of two words: obscure and occurrences. Obscure, next to meaning dark and unexplainable, is also a wink to the camera obscura, the original form of photography. For me this is a reference to the essence of photography: a dark room where the present light rays form an image. Occurrences refers to the remarkable events that the fictional character undergoes. This series contains experiments with unusual light sources, overlays, reflections and projections.

In conclusion, photography is a tool that allows me to translate my imagination into an image, enabling me to share it with others. Night and experiment have been significant threads in my work. Nevertheless, I also want to work more in broad daylight in the future.

I plan to keep experimenting, since it serves as a continuous source of inspiration to me. Moreover, I am convinced that it also leads to a better understanding of the photographic process and technique.