Promise is a lengthy project I’m still working on and will consist of several works. I remember myself as a little girl often playing on my own. One of the things I did was to bury my dolls (my girls) in a secret place in our backyard. I fantasized about a magical dreamworld where my girls where going to. Promise shows a physical space that stands for a symbolic, transcendent space in another kind of world inhabited by these children. The beauty of childhood and this fantasy is further emphasized by the careful and meticulous editing of this work.
Flokje van Lith (The Netherlands, 1969) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. For many years Van Lith worked as portrait photographer. Since 2011 she focuses more on her independent work. Van Lith's portraits of a subdued mood depict universal emotive states such as sorrow, solitude and melancholy and act as counterweight to our turbulent times. Inspired by personal childhood memories and temporary muses whom she encounters by chance, her images allude to the kind of parallel worlds young women can inhabit. In one telling reminiscence of childhood, Van Lith is playing a secret self-invented game in which she buries her dolls and fantasizes that being under ground opens the doors to parallel universes. These imagined parallel worlds are part of what she recreates in her contemporary portraiture. She is always striving to capture true emotions revealed by adolescent girls through their gaze, posture and gesture against backgrounds resonating with their expression. Aside from childhood memories, Van Lith finds inspiration in the formal qualities and emotional substance of the portraits done by Flemish Primitives and Italian Renaissance masters. Photographing her muses and backgrounds in interior settings allows Van Lith to take full advantage of the incidence of light and of chiaroscuro. She uses a medium-format camera for its ability to record in great detail. During post-production she continues to labor over images for weeks and often months on end, until she arrives at the perfect marriage of models and the carefully chosen environments of decay. In short, her work can be characterized as painting with photography. Awards: MIFA 2017: SECOND PLACE CATEGORY WINNER/Fine Art, GOLD/ Fine Art/Portrait, SILVER Fine Art/Collage, SILVER People/ Children, SILVER People/ Children, BRONZE Fine Art/Portrait, BRONZE Fine Art/Portrait, BRONZE People/ Children, PX3 Prix de la Photographie 2017: 5 x Honorable Mention Fine Art/ Collage/Series, International Color Awards 2017: 1 x Honorable Mention/ Portrait, 5 x Nominee Fine Art/Portrait, IPA 2016: 3 x Honorable Mention Fine Art/Portrait, Kontinent Awards 2016: THIRD PLACE Fine Art/Single Image, IPA 2015: 10 x Honorable Mention Fine Art/ Portrait/ People/ Portrait, Fine Art Photography Awards 2015: Professional Nominee/ Portrait, Int. Color Awards 2015: 3 x Honorable Mention/ Portrait, PX3 Prix de la Photographie 2014: SILVER/ Fine Art, IPA 2014: SECOND PLACE Fine Art, 7 x Honorable Mention, IPA 2013: 8 x Honorable Mention Fine Art/ Portrait, Int. Color Awards 2012: 2 x Honorable Mention/ Portrait, IPA 2011: 1 x Honorable Mention/ Portrait