Portfolio: Belgian photographer Eva Vermandel kicks against the modern culture of disposability


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

'I dislike how photography mostly gets used to describe the tangible," says Eva Vermandel of the Instagrammisation of her medium. "Too often bodies of work can easily be described in one simple sentence. From art, I expect something different: I want it to hit me right in the gut and plant seeds into my brain."

The Belgian-born photographer started on her project "Splinter" in 2006 to kick against the modern culture of disposability and create something with deeper resonance. Over the course of seven years, she built a series of photographs that amplify one another, bringing out elements the viewer might not notice in a single picture; compare the image in the gallery above, for instance, of the solitary "Evie" and the intertwining romanticism of the coupling trees in Suffolk.

Inspired by DH Lawrence, Vermandel says she attempts to use her camera in the way he does words, "using elements of reality – a plant on a window sill, a scarf wrapped around a protagonist's neck – to describe the feeling that lies underneath". Note how the colour of Evie's blouse almost disappears against the wall; or how the computer screen reflects and refracts the "truth" of the window on the outside world.

Of course, any such responses to her work are subjective – but that is key to the profound relationship Vermandel believes we should have with the art of photography. Hence, the name of the series: "Splinter: something that gets under the skin – the longer you look at it," she says, "the more it slips into you."

'Splinter' will be published by Hatje Cantz on 15 September, priced £32.50. The book will be launched at the London Art Book Fair on 14 September at the Whitechapel Gallery, London E1