Both natural and sophisticated, Seb Janiak’s photography is constantly on the verge of emotion. He achieves this by the use of forms and codes which need to be relearned. This may seem like a feat but it is, above all, a strange dialogue. We experience, in different degrees, feelings of opening and constriction which are close to pure sensation. And if, as the photographer states, “matter is just an illusion,” then his images, in counterpoint, are an illusion of matter; but matter from which the creative artist has nevertheless removed a small corner of the veil.
The risk of stagnancy is counteracted by a break-away with no possible return, underscored by the artist’s approach and by the forced flight of photography from its chrysalis. The beholder finds himself caught in a sudden beam of light, like a shell which has been opened by the jubilant skill of the artist who tracks down the “figure” to the ultimate frontiers of the unseen. The photography flourishes in all its fullness through this return upstream. The flat surface commutes into such depth that it appears as an invention.
It was only after he had begun the series “Kingdom et Photon” that this approach, focusing on the Unseen, fully penetrated the mind of the artist. Below the chaosmic appearance is to be found a singular art drawn from the very roots of matter and chemistry. The finished work exceeds all archaeological treatises and molecular microphotography. It brings forth the true fullness of what is invisible. It attests to new demands never separated from forgotten fundamentals. In the action of photographing and in the immediacy of the present moment, Seb Janiak sets off a presaging tremor whereby life seems to assume some kind of absolute quality.
Our artist may well claim contritely that: “My work simply uses the manifestation of invisible forces – photography is incapable of seeing what is invisible in the way that physicists can”; in his “Photon” series, the prints set off signals from the very depths of both the microcosmic and, paradoxically, the astronomical realms. Everything comes back together: life and death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future, the top and the bottom, the communicable and the incommunicable.
Not wishing to be considered in any way as a theorist of some kind of art revolution, Seb Janiak does something better: he remains the bearer of a proud, modest ideal. And with it goes a form of intransigency which does not overstep the rights of “earthly” authority. The artist relies on his own strength to create a truly dazzling apparition. That of an astonishing world, both strange and singular, which replaces the occult by a vision of what is occulted, whilst an almost shamanic intent replaces a mere materialistic vision which can explain nothing and can produce no opening up of consciousness.
For the actual shooting, Seb Janiak set himself a rule: despite being a pioneer in the field of digital imaging processes and post-production tools, he deliberately chooses to leave all this behind him: “Today, anyone can have access to Photoshop or something similar, so there’s no point in my pursuing that path”, he explains. Exploring uncharted territories is hence as much a matter of using new tools as possessing a perfect technique in the tradition of the photographic art.