Mighty streams

PhotographerThibault ROLAND
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountryCambridge, United States
Photo Date2010 and 2011
Technical Info30s exp;ND400 filter;K5 pentax
Entry Description

Water is a fascinating element, both essential to life and creation, and terrifying, when unleashed. These two sides of the same coin allow cycles of renewing and ending to happen, at different scales of time and sizes, and can even decide the fate of entire species, on this planet where everything is intertwined. The work presented here shows this duality, always there, as well as the somewhat useless attempt to control this brute-force, and turn it into a peaceful and even benevolent when time stretches with long exposures. But even then, secrets remain hidden under the distorted lens of the surface that reveals solely fugitive shadows in the depths. Moreover, nature reminds us that life is precarious. The two other important aspects of this work are the abstraction of the images, and their ability to bridge photography and other arts such as drawing and painting. With this series, the abstraction helps creating mystery, allowing people to invent their own world, their own story, and develop their own emotions. This long exposure technique, combined with black and white post-processing is also very interesting: abstraction and mystery kick in, and often the audience wonders what the subject is, or if they are looking at a photograph, a sketch, or a painting.

About Photographer

Born in Nancy (France) in 1981, he studied physics in Grenoble and spend some time in the Netherlands before completing a Ph.D. in Lyon. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and now works at Harvard in biophysics where he uses light as a tool to manipulate and elucidate the fundamental aspects of life. His passion for photography started very early in his life, nearly 15 years ago, when he traveled to Egypt. Since then, he has traveled to many other countries (including North Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Europe), and his love for photography has deepened and grown into a fascination for light. Self taught, he has studied many aspects of photography, including close-ups, landscapes and portraits. He explains his passion: “Photography is always there in my mind. I am always looking at the artistic potential of every situation. Good cameras alone are not enough to make a good photographer. It also requires a good sense of observation and composition. This is something you gain with experience, but most of the time you also need to anticipate an interesting scene.” Recently, he has developed a deep interest in fine art photography, especially black and white long exposure techniques. “I enjoy many aspects of this technique. I appreciate the ability to stretch time and turn a somewhat common or even uninteresting scene into a pure abstract or mysterious image. I look for small details, often unseen by most people, and make it the focus of the photograph. I also find light fascinating, and being able to capture and manipulate it to form an image never ceases to amaze me. When I use time to blur an image, abstraction and mystery kick in, and often the audience wonders what the subject is, or if they are looking at a photograph, a sketch, or a painting.”