There are moments when everyday objects suddenly lose their veil of familiarity and become abstract. The usual meaning that you give these objects is altered and for a split second you are able to see them in a different light. Elspeth Diederix is fascinated by rather ordinary things, which she brings to life — like an alchemist — with her magical eye.
Like her pictures, Elspeth is a true gem. One of the rare kind, who is not concerned with the whims and hypes of the outside world, but who is authentic and true to herself — always has been. Although a shower of buttercups or a black dust fog may seem computer-manipulated, they never are. They have been carefully sown by hand or created by using a long exposure. Although she started with painting and sculpture at the art academy, Elspeth soon realized how better suited photography was to conceiving her images. She loves creating the installations for the photographs; sewing flowers together, covering a motorcycle in pink pigment, creating a cloud from collected plastic bags. Most images take days of preparation, and some objects travel with her for months until she finds the right location. She is looking for that moment when you are suddenly overwhelmed by the invasion of objects and how they start to live a life of their own. Her amazingly poetic world seems to emanate light, very delicate and beautiful compositions. Elspeth regards her blog ‘The Studio Garden’ as an online sketchbook and has been filling it with photos taken in the back garden of her Amsterdam studio ever since 2009.
Elspeth says about her underwater images; ‘The underwater world is a fascinating and mysterious world; an unknown place where we don’t actually belong. Every time I am able to dive and breathe underwater is a miraculously inexplicable and special experience for me. You enter an atmosphere that is not related to anything you know. It is a world of shapes and textures, a world of colour. You are literally submerged in abstraction.’
Elspeth Diederix (born 1971 in Nairobi) experimented in painting and sculpture before coming to photography. Based in Amsterdam, she travels a lot for her projects in order to be confronted with unfamiliar environments for her work. Since the end of her studies in 2000, Diederix has exhibited internationally and published five books. »Still Life Submerged« is the latest one and features her underwater images.
Viviane Sassen grew up between the Netherlands, where she was born in 1972, and Africa. She studied fashion design and photography, but then began to mix staged photographs and snapshots for her work, which has been exhibited worldwide since her book Flamboya was widely acclaimed in 2008. Known especially for her successful photobooks, she has been awarded the prestigious Deutsche Fotobuchpreis (gold medal) twice already, for »Umbra« in 2016 and »In and Out of Fashion« in 2014.
Viviane Sassen nominated Elspeth Diederix for this edition of PHOTOPAPER. It has 16 pages. Images above showing selected pages.