These wonderfully quirky and artful photographs are not made with digital tricks. Laurence Demaison plays — delightfully — with film photography and with the idea of photography. Taking full advantage of showing what the camera sees (sometimes over long periods of exposure) compared to what the human eye cannot or does not see, she pre-visualizes each photograph up to a certain degree, and then lets chance and intuitive performance intervene.
As a result, her photographs seem to bend light and time, distort the appearance of her own human body, and hold secret coded messages in their multiple reflections, refractions, visual repetitions, and semaphore-like gestures that become smears of light in darkness.
Critic A.D. Coleman seemed equally captivated by Demaison’s work. He wrote:
“One set of images is composed of time exposures registering carefully orchestrated performances for the camera, during which Demaison creates representations of the outlines and surface of her body with layered, multiple exposures of her own hands. These read as both traces of a performance and the sort of simultaneous fluid yet frozen moments to which Butoh dance aspires.
“From a strictly imagistic standpoint, Demaison approaches the process of photographic picture-making as an occasion for extraordinary formal invention. From a conceptual standpoint, she treats the photographic negative (and the resulting print) as a stage for the performance of an action invisible to the eye, often one of considerable duration by conventional standards.”
Her technical virtuosity leads us to art that revels in the extremes of visual perception. Demaison’s photographs remind me of the distortions of Kertesz, the inventive playfulness of Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy, and the multiple perspectives of the Cubists — but her work is clearly her own.
You can discover more remarkable work at Demaison's website. Or, experience the delight of Demaison's prints in person at Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, in Paris.
— Jim Casper