It becomes clear early on that the book 2099 by Sybren Vanoverberghe (b. 1996, Belgium) doesn’t tell just one story. Even though it presents a combination of natural and cultural scenes, this is not documentary photography by any means. Some images he just came across, while others were carefully chosen, with the aim to provide an associative experience.
Next to nonspecific nature, we see old and often dilapidated man-made structures: a sculpture, a pathway, a pyramid, a pillar. These traces of history don’t necessarily refer to any place or time, but rather to ideas of a collective memory and the cyclical nature of life. History is not fixed: it evolves, it’s repetitive. Places are built, damaged, torn down, new ones take their spot. Technology is ever evolving, but does it actually take us forward?
And then, there is the photograph of an orange tree, one of the few bursts of colour in a mostly subdued series. It’s an image that disrupts the rhythm, that stands out both thematically and visually. It’s an interesting little photographic experiment. When pointing your camera towards the sun like this, you would normally see nothing but silhouettes. Vanoverberghe, however, decided to flash into the sunlight, resulting in light fighting from two directions. The orange tree, in the middle of this, becomes something dramatic.
Sybren Vanoverberghe – 2099 will be on show at BredaPhoto, September 5 – October 21, 2018.