Do you recognise the mirror of your soul wandering through the thicket? The rays of the sun flicker through the water - and you feel pleasantly empty and full at the same time. Letting go, this void is replenished with the energy you’ve been seeking. Thoughts and inspiration emerge, creativity returns. - Regina Anzenberger
In the 18th century, the landscape was used as a backdrop for portraits, in painting as well as in photography. But as the medium of photography developed, so did our experience and usage of the landscape in photographs. Today, landscape photography is a way for photographers to explore their personal relationship with their environment, a way to interact and respond to external stimuli. The camera is used as a tool for discovery and revelation, to communicate and convey self expression and charged emotions. In her book Roots & Bonds, artist Regina Anzenberger offers a new approach to landscape photography: with the woods near Vienna as the source of her inspiration, she uses a combination of photography, painting and mixed media to transform her familiar surroundings to exotic ones - interchanging the real for surreal.
The title refers to the roots and bonds of a particular tree that caught Anzenberger’s eyes on a walk with her dog, Shakeera. She grew fascinated with the vines that wound themselves down to the ground - going from branch to branch and creating an image of endless bounds. Over the course of 2 years, she kept on returning to the forest and, specifically, to that tree, photographing it throughout the seasons.
In her images, Anzenberger echoes the materialism and hues of traditional analogue photography with her warm-toned photographs, round-cornered images and Polaroid-type scans. Yet, at the end of the book, it’s noted that all of the images in the book were taken with an iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. This fact would typically mean that the photographs should be taken and seen as snapshots – something not be taken all that seriously. However, by editing her images in a way that her work reflects old techniques and putting them in a well designed and printed book, Anzenberger makes the viewer take them seriously and causes them to rethink their ideas on mobile photography.
Anzenberger’s delicate sequencing of her works shows her imaginative way of looking at nature, bringing together her experience as a painter and photographer. In her mixed media images she visualises the energy that she gets from returning to nature, extending the roots of the tree in the photograph to the page itself with thin and delicate lines. These mixed media pages also contain Anzenberger’s thoughts, which are written in German, making the book seem more personal - as if we’re reading through her diary.
Roots & Bonds is a testament to how inspiration can be drawn from the simplest of things, and that the same place or object can keep on giving, if only you, as an artist, will allow it to inspire you.