Secret Garden

Composition of shapes and volumes in plants gleaned from the garden and along the paths. The juxtaposition of small elements and their assembly takes the visitor into a timeless universe. Eternal cycle.


Olivier Guyaux Laure Winants Monya Ghabantani. The series of large format negatives was made in the field in the spring of 2022 in Awagne -Dinant. The 9x13cm negatives were used as a basis for a free interpretation of each printed by contact.
The cyanotype process dates from 1842 and is a photographic process with iron salts giving a prussian blue image.
The VanDijke is a more recent process from 1889 combining salts with silver nitrate, giving a softer image in contrast and more detailed
The gum process is a pigmentary process combining gum arabic with paint.

Is photography an art or the product of a technique?

The question is posed since the development of the first photographic processes.
In 1850 Gustave Le Gray, photographer and ardent defender of an artistic practice of photography expressed himself in these terms: "For me, I express the wish that photography, instead of falling into the field of industry and commerce, enters that of art. This is its only true place, and it is in this way that I will always seek to make it progress".
Organized in circles and societies, many photographers lead the fight, organize exhibitions and obtain in 1859 the possibility of exposing their works at the same time as those of the painters at the annual Salon of painting ..... but in a distinct space.
It was on this occasion that Baudelaire wrote one of the most violent attacks against technique, which he reduced to the status of "a very humble servant of the arts" (Le Public moderne et la Photographie, salon de 1959)

In 1888, at a time when the question of the technical difficulties of making images was no longer topical, an international artistic movement renewed the debate.
It is the first, it is designated under the name of Pictorialism. It is short-lived
For two decades its objective was the same: to have photography recognized as an artistic discipline in the same way as painting.
The protagonists of the movement were amateur photographers, close to the pictorial movements of the time: symbolism and impressionism.
They frequented the photographic societies created by their elders in Paris, London, Vienna, Hamburg or New York.
They left them to create new clubs where they discussed their ideas, compared their work and refined their biases.

In France, for example, Constant Puyot and Robert Demachy founded the Paris Photo Club in 1894.

The pictorialists sought to distance themselves from a technique that would imprison them in the role of executors.
They refused the documentary value of photography, and to the ideal of sharpness that does not sacrifice any detail they opposed a subjective vision and a rendering closer to that perceived by the human eye.
They intend to create unique works in the sense that the fragment of reality captured by the camera is interpreted by the photographer.
Each step of the process of making the images gives rise to particular interventions.
Neglecting the most modern processes, they use multiple "recipes" sometimes primitive so that the technique is as little perceptible as possible: search for effects by clever focusing, use of moistened lens, scratching, retouching of negatives, use of pigmentary printing processes, gum bichromate, cyanotype, charcoal, use of fatty inks, mounting of prints on colored cardboard, sophisticated framing,...
The Pictorialists create and cultivate a style.
"Perhaps we will be accused of erasing the photographic character? That is our intention" says Robert Demachy.

However, within the movement, artistic practices are very diverse, each photographer builds his own rules and discussions are bitter ... until violent oppositions denounce this new academicism.