Seb Janiak is the artist behind these vividly beautiful artworks. Using butterfly wings to mimic floral patterns, these images bring a unique beauty to his craft. We interviewed the artist to find out more about how his images come to life. View more work at sebjaniak.com
Chromogenic print | Format 180 x 180 cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)
SEB JANIAK, Mimesis, 2012-2014
“MIMESIS” (Mimesis is a Greek word meaning imitation)
Where do you find the wings you shoot?
In some specialized shop in Paris, which have huge collections of butterflies.
How do you photograph and what editing process do you go through to achieve the final image?
I was one of the digital pioneers in the mid 80’s, using a digital camera and digital tools from video for the purpose of photography. Since 2008, I had set new parameters on my research by restricting myself to the techniques of analog photography, namely double exposure, superimposition and photomontage inspired by primitives of photography as Henry Peach Robinson, Edouard Baldus, Oscar Gustave Rejlanderen and Legray. (Between 1850 and 1870, a dozen english and french photographers were exploring the creative possibilities of what photography has to offer. This first generation of photographers wanted to prove that the photo is just like painting at that time, an art form in itself).
Before I start a new art work, I always sketch or draw my idea on paper. So I just use a digital cutting tools to cut the element (insects wings) I’ve choose. Because of the high resolution of the original file element ( 250 Mo each element), it takes time… after that it is a matter of composition and inspiration. My master file at the end of the composition work is about 6 to 10 Gigaoctet, also because my original format is about 71 inches.
What inspired this project?
Mimesis is an adaptive imitation strategy. There is a major difference between mimesis and camouflage in terms of evolution: camouflage capability, involving colour in particular, can appear and develop very quickly in a species through the interplay of mutations and selection, but mimesis by contrast is a complex co-evolutionary mechanism involving three species: the model, the imitator and the dupe.
But what is most important is Mimesis involves memory and informations. As said Ruppert Sheldrake, “hypothesis of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.” A flower which adapts her appearance involves a connection to this morphic field. This morphic field involves also a universe of information (Christianisme and Buddhism talk about a spiritual universe), outside time and space which feed our matter universe of informations…
What do you hope people will take in from these images?
People who prefer matter and believe in a materialistic point of view will see beauty of the Mimesis flowers, others who believe matter is just an illusion will feel it differently. If you don’t believe in soul, or God or if you believe it all started from matter, you will see a beautiful flower and a nice art piece. If you are spiritual and believe the invisible world is bigger than our visible world, meaning if you believe there is something behind the matter’s veils, you will interpret the photo differently. I strongly believe matter came from spirit-conscience and not the opposite as most of the scientist want to believe.
Using art to reveal what is behind the veil of the matter is fascinating and full of discoveries.