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Paul D’Haese

31 January 2010
By Sean

Editor’s Note: Last October I was admitted into Northern Michigan University’s post-baccalaureate program and as of the beginning of January I have begun my three semester trek towards a B.S. in Art History.  I am really excited to be able to pursue my interests in art and art history.  Because I am attempting to acquire this degree in three semesters, my work load is very heavy and will be for a year and a half.  In order to improve my academic record and to take all of the classes that I want to take I will be attempting 16+ credits each semester.

Because of this I will not be able to dedicate significant amounts of time to this blog.  As of today this blog will only be periodically updated.  Just like the past I will write a small bit information and my opinions on the work the that I present to you.  As always you, the reader, are encouraged to join our flikr group and submit images for consideration.  Also you can email me directly with a link to your portfolio (my email can be found under the contact tab).  I promise that I will look through each and every porfolio that you send my way.  I cannot, however, guarantee that I will email each of you after browsing your portfolio, although I will try.  If you ask me specifically for a critique I will do my best to provide that for you within two weeks; I know how valuable peer review can be.  I will email you if I plan on publishing any of your work on this blog.

I will occasionally publish other materials related, in some way, to photography.  Occasionally news pops up that I feel compelled to share with my readers.  I have also been writing on photography quite a bit lately and maybe compelled to share some of those essays with you.  That will give you the opportunity to critique my writing, if you choose to.  On top of all this I have been offered the chance to be a part of  a small team that is curating  a photography exhibition featuring photographs by George Shiras III.  I am very excited to be a part of this team and will give occasional updates on the status of the exhibition and thoughts that I have through the curatorial process.  My apologies for all this nonsense, but given my recent extended leave of absense, I felt it necessary to update you on the future of The Photo Playground.  I hope you enjoy this weeks selection.







These photographs are from the series Dayblind by Belgian photographer, Paul D’Haese.  Admittedly, I am not usually a huge fan of contemporary black and white photography.  I know and I apologize.  My excuse is more or less baseless – my world is vibrant and rich in color, I thoroughly enjoy visually experiencing the world.  I find it hard to relate with many of the black and white images people produce.  I do, however, make exceptions and really there are a lot of them.  D’Haese’s work is one more exception to add to my list.  My first reaction to his images was excitement, they were unnerving, unsettling, and confrontational.  I experienced a sense of anticipation before each click to proceed to the next image.  What would I discover when the next image popped up in front of me?  How would the next image question my sensibilities?

Whether I stared into one of D’Haese’s rooms or peered into one of his landscapes I could not escape the sense that the subject and I were alone.  It was not a benign sense of solitude.  The images confront you with their expansiveness and the harsh juxtaposition of the subject, regardless of what it is.  They conjure feelings of isolation, the remnant emotion of being left behind.

Although the woman’s eyes are partially closed, the portrait is direct in its confrontation.  Behind her eyes lies an expression of nonchalance or is it indifference?  It’s unsettling not knowing for sure.  The passive-aggressive confrontation is always frustrating – you’re always left with the uncertainty of what the proper response should be.  Is she trying to confuse us or make us disoriented?  Should I stay and try to look harder or deeper or should I proceed to the next, resigned with the belief that I wasn’t supposed to know?

D’Haese’s images are mysterious and they offer little in regards to an explanation.  I loved it.  The formal elements, compositional techniques, and the evocation of emotional responses were spot on.  D’Haese has mastered his art and I look forward to seeing what he produces in the future.

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2 Responses to Paul D’Haese

  1. Ralf on 25 August 2014 at 7:43 am

    I read a lot of interesting content here. Probably you spend a lot of
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  2. sam wahyudi on 10 March 2010 at 11:12 am

    i like his photographs!

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