“Perhaps I want to create things that are elusive. And for me photography is the only way to do it. You’ve got an image in front of you: it’s not simply formal, but you can’t immediately describe it in any other way. At most you can say what’s there, but that’s not what it’s about. What I want, in fact, is to take to the point where there is nothing but that image.”
In each of his photographs, Dirk Braeckman creates a closed reality, one that, though derived from his personal environment, manifests itself as a whole isolated in itself. The core material of his pictures are places and spaces, preferably interiors, which he does not systematically explore, but rather documents in chance encounters on a more intuitive level. His pictures circle around what cannot be rendered in the manner of a portrait or likeness, but rather in a manner in which the artist’s personal existence is made emotionally perceptible as a dream or mood image. The situations involved are quite easily and directly identifiable. The reflection of the flash on varying surfaces indicates the presence of the artist, and at the same time disrupts the illusionary character of the picture. To temper the link to the motif, Dirk Braeckman generally prefers black-and white photography and a photo paper that gives the picture a surface with – so rare in photography – a tactile effect. On other occasions the pixel structure of the pictures enhances the impression of two-dimensionality. The frontal flashes, blurring, extreme cutting and obscuring of the perspective make for an atmosphere of uncertainty and indeterminacy, sometimes even evolving into the realm of complete abstraction.
“By keeping it dark and grey and printing it out of focus, I eliminate part of the information which detracts from the essence. In this way I aim for a purified situation, into which you are thrown as a viewer. I investigate things that seem insignificant. These are all places that somehow look as though they’ve been lived in, where the space has withstood a great deal or where people have gone through a lot, though you’ll never know what that was.”