Sometime in the early years of our planet, billions of years ago, two gases allied themselves – hydrogen and oxygen. They became a liquidity, which enabled the emergence of life on earth. Water – the basic element – the element of constant change. It all began with water and water is inside anything living. Water – the element of constant change.
Thus reads the introduction to H2O, a photographic exhibition by Walt Ireton – known in the physical world as Jay Evers – at his Sominiem Art Gallery in Tabula Rasa. Based in Hamburg, Germany and Enschede in The Netherlands, Walt’s business is creative wedding documentary and event photography. However, his passion lies within the fields of natural, street, and macro photography.
These three aspects of his photography are combined H2O, which, as the introduction and title suggest, focuses on the subject of water. On display are some 37 images taken from the physical world (four of them stunning photo montages of a single image divided into three or four parts), split across two levels of the gallery space which Walt also designed. And believe me when I say, they are simply stunning.
“Water is very good in showing us how restricted our visual perception actually is,” Walt says of the exhibition. “Our eyes can see only a small part of the existing light [and] all information that our eyes do see, is filtered in various ways before it reaches the conscious part of our brain.
“Another aspect of water is, that it is moving most all of the time,” he adds. “A camera is capable of de-accelerated perception, which with longer exposure times makes moving water look like diffused veils or misty clouds. A vision of the primeval ocean suggests itself.”
All of which leads him to conclude that while a photograph does not really show an absolute and objective moment in time, it can nevertheless, and almost literally in the case of the natural flow and motion of water, freeze a moments in time which then themselves become timeless, literally.
And “timeless” is precisely the adjective to apply to many of the images here, from the foamed water roiling around rocks so suggestive of that primeval ocean Walt notes through to the amazing sight of the very top of a fountain plume caught in that 1/6000th of a second as it arches and twists at the start of its gravity-induced fall back towards the ground, with so many more in between – such as the reflection of a building caught in a street-side puddle, something unlikely ever to be captured in the same way ever again.
As well as the H2O exhibit, the upper levels of the gallery space (reached via the Anywhere Door on the ground level) also play host to two further exhibitions. The first is Impresiones de La Gomera, presents real life images of the island of La Gomera capture by Walt and his parter, Seoreh Voight, The second is Working Under Pressure, presents the comic book artistry of Martin Scarborough as large-format pieces.
As a final note, not only are the images displayed in H2O and Impresiones for sale at the gallery, those living it Europe can avail themselves of Walt’s website if they so wish and order copies to grace the walls of their physical world home. And when visiting Tabula Rasa, why not avail yourself of the other galleries and exhibitions in the region – including Walt’s own City Windows?