DOMINIC MICHEL.

AN INTERVIEW.

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Lots of blank spaces. Or aren’t they that blank? What do blank spaces mean to you?

I try to spread kind of an arc of suspense between absence as a demand for presence and absence as
a denial in terms of the romantic painters. My photography offers different possibilities and situations for absence. It’s like photography as a scaffold: on the one hand there are different bars and pipes linked together to a well-defined construction and on the other hand there is this offer of blank spaces to fill with functions and thoughts.

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Why did you decide to get involved with photography?

It’s this moment when a thing turns into a picture. I’m fascinated by this blank space between the lens and the film in the back of the camera – a kinda magic space where this translation from a moment into a picture takes place.

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Do you remember your first picture that you really liked?

There is this old photograph of a lake in Einsiedeln (Switzerland) called Sihlsee. It’s an artificial lake, made to produce power in a hydro station. Therefore a large part of the landscape with its fields, farms and other buildings has been flooded.

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Landscapes or cityscapes? What would you say you prefer and why?

I like the idea of a non-territorial artist, what means that there are no differences between land- and cityscapes for me. It’s important to use the camera not just as a machine to generate pictures, it’s also something like an object that can be used to think about pictures even if you don’t take pictures.
I’m always fascinated by the first photographic picture by Niépce: the view out of his studio – it’s a combination of land- and cityscape in a photographic view from his lens to the horizon. Like a metaphor for future prospects and the possibilities of photography.

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When you are working with installations what is the most important thing to you?

Installations give the possibility to show the inside and the space behind the camera. If we talk about the photographer as a subject, then it’s the possibility of an installation to transform him to an object. It’s something like the described scaffold: There has to be something to show the nothingness – and that’s what I’m interested in.

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B&W or colour? What would you choose if you had to? Or would it be impossible to choose?

I’d choose black and white because of its simplicity. It’s all about the communication in terms of a translation between the picture in front of the lens and the film at the back: dark turns to bright, and bright turns to dark. This is like the decision of the photographer to open the shutter or to leave it closed.

Interview by Amanda M. Jansson

http://www.dominicmichel.net/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/deceem/

http://www.photoceem.blogspot.ch/

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