New Zealand born, Melbourne based contemporary fine art photographer Jeremy Blincoe studied photography at Massey University in Wellington, followed by years working in advertising honing his craft.
A predominate focus of the work is on youth, and are set in wondrous landscapes, giving the viewer a license to create their own narrative inside a mysterious and mythical world Blincoe has created.
Chimera Of Control
Every prop, costume, animal or person that appears in my images plays a significant role in the visual narratives I construct using photography and digital technologies. In this, my process of production is pivotal; each element is selected or designed and made then placed, photographed and sometimes composited using digital technologies so that the sum – the final image – is greater than its parts, each work being a personal exploration or expression of the concerns I have about contemporary human existence.
The Chimera of Control series is also set in or against a variety of strange and mysterious natural settings that I either shoot on-location or edit in during post-production: limestone and rock caves; the undulating dunes of a sandy desert; an ice-covered lake in front of a spectacular cliff-face; the cracked and blackened-earth shores of a dried up lake, and so forth. While adding dramatic visual impact, they also function as signifiers of the beauty and/or degradation and destruction our natural environment suffers through human intervention and natural disaster.
As population growth increases exponentially so does our demand for material goods that seems to accompany a growing concern with wealth, status, power and a desire for perfection. As our rate of production and consumption increases, so does the rate we exploit our natural resources, and our production of waste. At the same time I believe we are increasingly in denial of what is happening to the environment; the greater the occurrence and impact of natural disaster, the more we seem to distance ourselves from these signs.
Many of my images deal with the impact of material desire and the pursuit of perfection; a young girl dressed in a pearl-covered straightjacket stands in a pool of white water and stares at her own reflection, not just bound by but immersed in a narcissism resulting from her attempts to attain some kind of purity through material perfection; inside a dark cave another is thrown by a horse in her attempts to control its wild impulse for freedom, just as humans continue being surprised by the uncontrollable forces of nature; a ballerina pirouettes atop a stack of burning rubber tyres in a post-apocalyptic landscape, highlighting the contrast between the pursuit of precision and perfection on the one hand as we pollute the natural world on the other, a doom-laden sky perhaps indicating the demise of the environment and ourselves if we continue in this direction.
In my attempts to create drama using these out-of-the-ordinary settings, and in the layering of signs and symbols presented in my use of props, costumes, people and animals, I try to seduce viewers to look more deeply in to my work, to ‘enter’ the imagery and create their own narrative(s) and response(s) – which may pertain to the inner feelings or thoughts about the issues my work triggers or be drawn from life experience or arise out of some myth, folk-lore or fairy tale – as well as stimulating them to look more deeply at human existence and ask: what are we doing to ourselves and to the environment, and where are we heading…
Ephemeral Memory, highlights the struggle of indigenous people to retain their ancient culture and traditions, while forging a new identity in modern day Australia.
Yet while Blincoe’s images are provocative, there is deliberate ambiguity in his work. Subjects are floating in mid-air or clinging to elements of the landscape, inviting the viewer to question whether they are oppressed or liberated; tethered or unbound.
There is a different sensibility lurking beneath Jeremy Blincoe’s new, once again beautiful fine art photographs in Fleeting Embrace to what he presented in Wander and Wonder last year. Though attempting to remain ambiguous there is a hint of tragic poetry in the work Samadhi (2011), a composited photograph of a slender, half-naked boy-child who floats alone in a blacker-than-black void. Attached to a parachute made from what could be discarded plastic bags, is he questioning how this child is to survive our impact on the environment?
Images created in the series Fleeting Embrace ask: what are we leaving for the children of this world? Perhaps the ‘fleeting embrace’ of the title is that these children are holding on to what is left before it disappears. © Kirsten Rann, July 2011
Wander and Wonder
The title of contemporary art photographer Blincoe’s exhibition – Wander and Wonder – inspires curiosity as to whom these words apply. Is it that the ragamuffin-like children in his photographs wander through these marvellous landscapes and wonder about where they fit in the world, or that the images create a sense of wonder, inviting questions about their meaning, as the viewer wanders through the exhibition?
Cast yourself back to your own childhood and wander through the memories of the times you spent adrift in nature, perhaps testing your ability to survive, perhaps just wondering about life. Such experiences also informed Blincoe’s series, the first image being of the boy standing ankle-deep in water with a raven under one arm and a slingshot in the hand of the other. This is derived from a personal memory, so alongside imagination perhaps the viewer’s memory is being invited to help unravel the narratives in his images. © Kirsten Rann, April 2010
“Highly staged and orchestrated, Wander and Wonder captures a friction between innocence and ominousness, childlike wonderment and something more sinister. Blincoe’s photographs use a combination of studio and natural lighting to give the works an augmented, hyperreal qulaity. Objects glow dramatically; shadows are cast in various directions. It’s spooky beautiful and fantastical alll at once. But despite the exaggerated atmosphere and vastness of the environs, the child protagonists seem blithely at play. They express an unease only when they make eye contact with the lens and, in effect the viewer. Its is as if we have interrupted, broken the narrative of the fantastical scene.
Left be, childhood exploration,perception and imagination is a wondrous thing and Blincoe takes us there. The ominous that we sense in these works is one that we impose as adults. For Children,the landscape-huge, colourful and dramatic – is just a backdrop for the wilds of the mind.” © Dan Rule 2010