Tim Johannis’ work is aesthetic and often somewhat alienating. The Dutch photographer says it arises from a certain kind of feeling rather than from a thought. Analysing his works, patterns become visible. “I came to learn that the lion’s part of my work has a lot to do with perception and image forming. My never-ending hunger to observe everything, even or maybe especially the seemingly trifles and useless things, is my biggest source of inspiration.”
This hunger manifests itself in photographs of such things as plastic packaging and moiré. With his conceptual series Blisters the still-life photographer wanted to show objects that we usually overlook. We buy a product, unwrap it and throw away the packaging without having wittingly looked at it. “By photographing these objects in a way we usually don’t see them I want to make the viewer aware of the array of possible ways to look at things, futile or not. What we choose to see determines our world, our individual reality.” The series Screenstudies shows Johannis fascination for moiré. He found out that some delicate shapes, like moire-patterns, can’t be registered by our brains, so in fact they are an illusion because we are unable to see them.
“It’s possible to see invisible things then”; an interesting statement that is on a par with the concept of Blisters and the rest of Johannis’ work. What the photographer actually does is capturing an object, confronting us with it and consequently confronting us with our own perception of the world. In the end, that world is as small or as big as we make it. He makes visible what otherwise stays unnoticed and let us revalue the way we experience something’s presence. Johannis doesn’t feel like he’s in the position to interfere in the viewer’s perception of the world. “But if the viewer get’s something out of my work, I’m obviously glad that I could contribute to that.”
About his working process Johannis says: “Most of the times the outcome of my work is totally different from my original idea. I need an anchor to start with but as I’m observing an object, I keep looking different at it and new ideas keep popping up. Slowly the final result is coming into shape.” For the Dutch photographer, light is as important as composition. Light determines the way we see things. And without it you can’t see anything at all. Johannis experiments a lot with the effect light has on his objects; it’s his tool for image forming.
For Johannis photography is a matter of emotion. “By listening to myself and waiting for that visual encounter that intrigues me. Off course you can stick to a certain concept, but for me that doesn’t work. I’m open for all kinds of new approaches and techniques, as long as the image brings about something.
Written by Shinta Lempers