although i’ve always been a portraiture kinda guy, i must take a moment to share my impressions of dieter de lathauwer‘s work which i seemed to have run into with increasing frequency over the last few years. the thing about landscape and my utter failure to recognise it probably lies in the fact that i always seek a sense of place, a connection and familiarity in it (something more easily found in portraiture) landscapes that are foreign to me are generally dismissed simply as wallpaper, autobiographic postcards or other people’s stuff. however, with dieter’s photography something changed in me.
the all-too-quiet emotive quality of his work is evocative to say the least, continuously balancing between a sense of loss and a space of contemplation; the images are celebrations of isolation, a view of the ordinary made extraordinary which is cutting a fine line between active and passive; it leaves one with a lingering sensation so reminiscent of the fluctuating objectivity of the düsseldorf school. surprisingly the desolation does not become impersonal in dieter’s work, but rather becomes a suspense filled scene prompting the imagination into participation.
the tention of the work rests on that little space that creates an imagined intimacy purposefully juxtaposed against a familiar documentary. much of this can be attributed to the focus, lighting and textural composition as much as the consistent thematic departure of the artist which all combine to create intensely atmospheric work.
most of de lathauwer’s work contains an almost tangible dimension of rhythm and geometry with such a powerful hypnotic effect it brings the viewer to a veritable standstill (incidentally also the name of the arresting series that changed my lowly expectations of landscape photography), some even have strong surrealist painterly elements the likes of de chirico, that strangely contribute to their memorableness. poignantly, the bleak light and night shots also fade the horizon almost that provides a metaphysical distance and becomes a metaphor for the imperceivable and borderless.
there may be a bit of andreas gursky here, even if just from the elevated vantage point of some of the images, but not nearly as dispassionate or deadpan in my opinion. the spiritual nature and subsequent depth of the work evokes in me a more personal connection; there is no reason for comment or observation, it succeeds in drawing the viewer into a non-confrontational space that oozes with a dense air of some introspective hang-over.