fleeting moment

artist statement

There is transformative power in experiencing awe.

When we experience awe, we are truly feeling transcendent. This is not only an emotion, it can also become a state of being.

I am in awe of the everyday reality around me. I look at my wife and child in awe at their pure, unadulterated beauty and shining spirit, the light they emit from their faces, their eyes. In my half century of existence, whereas I spent the first part of my life looking to be awed by something which is ‘not’, or at least something which was not available to me in my personal existence, now I spend it in continual awe at what is–existence itself.

I am not in some state of constant of bliss or euphoria, nor do I always escape the feelings of inadequacy and not belonging, but the constant state of awe reminds me what a true and emotional privilege existence is.

It is relatively easy to be awed by spectacle. I would say it’s almost like a party trick or gimmick.

My own personal awe comes from a transcendent connection to reality, to a great appreciation of what is and that I am. This is manifest in my family, my mother, my brother, my brother in law and my dear, close friends, near and very far. It is also experienced while looking at the world itself, in all its forms, from pavement to jet trails.

For me, as an artist, it is at its most clear when framed by a lens and camera, stripped of three dimensional depth and wider context, even colour – reduced to light and shade. This is when, after finding the right composition at the right time of day, with the right level of activity happing in front of the camera, I can record and stand back, waiting for the final image to form–not as one frozen frame, not developed as though on an antique wet plate camera–waiting for the final image to form out a sequence of frames, forever looping.

As of January 2023, when I write this statement, I look further at the movement and, as in life, there is a balance to be placed between temporal and spatial resolution and since there is so little movement in my work, the camera is always on a fixed tripod and I seek out calm scenes with not much motion, I do not want to under-emphasise the movement, hence I stay away from the ‘cinematic’ 24 frames a second. I use what is available to me in the equipment at the time from 30-60 frames, going back to 2016 when the work became more serious, to capture motion not as streaks across the frame, but as sharply as the rest of the scene.

For, as an artist, the finding out how many frames should be recorded, how many pixels should be invested in, how the shadow and light curves should be exposed to leave no black, no white in an image which should absolutely not be grey, is the tinkering and mixing of my ‘paint’ as if I were a painter, it is the knowing of my body as if I were a dancer, it is the process of appreciation of the whole lifespan of reality–to stored image–to viewer’s eyes at some point in the future.

My medium is the camera and what I capture are fleeting moments, moving still images.

I do this because I am drawn to doing it. And I do this because there is hope in art and at the start of the twenty first century what we might need above everything is hope. My hope is that we will wake up to the existential beauty which we inhabit, and start to work together as a species to improve the lives of all of us and not only for all of us today, but all of us for the future, since we are the only thing which stands between a fading past and a fragile future.

I do this because I am lucky enough to experience awe in not only spectacle, but in all.

I do this because I work all day on the future of text, and some times words are not what’s needed.

I do this because I hope that someone might see some of my work in a quiet place, presented on a large display, and they get lost in a detail at some part of the frame and since I am ‘an artist’ it must be important what is shown (I say ‘artist’ sarcastically but also with an eye to how we react to branding and authority) and when that person realises that they are just looking at a framed part of their everyday reality, and that they felt some degree of awe since it was presented as art, my hope is that they can return to their every day every and see is as beautiful, full of awe, something might happen. Something beautiful outside of the aesthetic of the framed moving still image, something in how we move in the world and how we behave towards the world and each other.

 

frode alexander hegland
london 2004-
2023
frode@hegland.com