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Seb Janiak

In keeping with the lively tradition at the heart of photography, technological innovations open up the possibility of new types of image. However, only a handful of people can successfully forge an artistic idiom and blaze a trail in the uncharted territory unveiled by the new tools available to them. Fewer still can also provide innovative solutions to the issues raised by previous generations, but Seb Janiak features among their ranks. From his matte paintings with their revolutionary new techniques and unique perspectives in the mid 1980s, to his latest photographs of laser beams passing through prisms, attempting to capture light in its original purity without the use of artificial means (mirroring the endeavors of the founding fathers of photography in the first half of the 19th century), Janiak has successfully preserved a sense of cohesion while covering the full range of possibilities offered by photography. This cohesion is all the more remarkable considering the major break with the past in photography over the last thirty years represented by the advent of digital technology. Rejecting the straitjacket of specific schools or eras, but exploiting instead the complex nature of the world around him, Seb Janiak uses and reveals in his photographs the vibrant power of opposites. Since 2011, he has set new parameters on this research by restricting himself to the techniques of analog photography, namely double exposure, superimposition and photomontage. This consummate master of digital editing abandoned what people were all too ready to consider his main forte. This limited range of options has proved fruitful, leading him to perfect increasingly complex systems in the studio to produce photographs of magnetic fields using ferrofluids, laser beams, sunlight (Visible light), or even air bubbles (Vacuity). In this way, he re-- establishes the link with the photographic tradition in its earliest incarnation, when the skill of the artist was crucial and the key challenge was to capture light in permanent form.

In what can be viewed as a yearning for simplicity or even a form of asceticism, Seb Janiak continues to translate his thoughts on man’s fate, the world and its mysterious forces, time and light into images. He devotes equal attention to analyzing all of these evolving phenomena which are a permanent feature of his work, echoing their ceaseless patterns of renewal in his own creative approach.