Through the Frame

“Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality…One can’t possess reality, one can possess images – one can’t possess the present but one can possess the past.” Susan Sontag famously posted the value of “collecting” moments through the lens. 

All photographs are, inherently, framed. They offer a version of reality, as Sontag posits, but not one that we can ever really “possess” in all its entirety, devoid of its original perspective. Just as our eyes provide information to be processed by the brain, the lens does the same for the camera. When we adjust the aperture settings and “imprison” the light passing through the lens, we capture the particularities of angle, composition, colour and light, projecting an image that is, inherently, finite. 

Circling these ideas of visual boundaries, margins and fringes are the works of Fabien Dendiével. The photographer extends the concept of the frame, from the eye to the lens and then to a window. From the sandstone buttes of Arizona’s Monument Valley to the jagged mountains in Iceland, Dendievel’s subject matter is constrained to a limited view which is always beyond reach. Viewers are invited to fixate, with a kind of passing interest, on towers of red rock, sweeping blue horizons and green shrubs, the size and scale of which are all completely unknown due to the distance that sits between them and the final audience.

Dendiével touches on the act of visual tourism, demonstrating a mastering of light and frame.

1. Belgrade.
2. Iceland 2.
3. Iceland 1.
4. Iceland 3.
5. Plane.
6. Corsica.
7. Monument Valley 2.
8. Monument Valley 1.

All images courtesy of Fabien Dendiével.