Rogier Houwen – [↑] Women Kiss (201X); [↓] Title Unknown (201X)

The second photo here dates from late 2012 at the latest. I suspect the upper photo was made around roughly the same time.

Houwen’s style has morphed–with his more recent work focusing on interrogations of photographic process and deconstruction of traditional darkroom technique. It’s not exactly original or even innovative but it’s still interesting. (For example: I unfortunately can’t access the sectors of my memory banks where the name is stored but there is a notable fine art photographer who worked in almost exactly the same vein as Houwen is now who was active primarily in the mid-aughts. That artist’s work is of a much higher quality but I still appreciate Houwen’s soulfulness–it contributes a vitality to his work that I always found lacking in the work of the hot shot photographer whose name I can no not even remember.)

I’ll stay in my lane though. Houwen’s work–at least circa the epoch of the above work–is reminiscnet of Patricio Suarez. Not how both skew darker in terms of dynamic range and both feature a strong preference for backlighting. (This allows them to do some fascinating things with the boundaries between shadow and light, i.e. the way the woman in the lower photo above is separated from the background by a halo of mid-tones around her right shoulder, neck, hair and back.)

It’s not exactly correct but I think the difference has something to do with the raison d’etre for the photo. In Suarez’s case the photo is indicative of a feeling–the chicken hatches the egg. Whereas with Houwen, the feeling is the egg from which the chicken hatches.

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