Born in Netherlands. 1959.
Lives and works in Amsterdam.
The work in the pages that follow is an exposé of the process of my photography that I have made my own while working on the 1 two tree project: a series of photos and prints of production forests in Finland, Sweden, France and Belgium. Planted for the paper and timber industry, some of these forests look natural, some less so depending on the country in which they are found. The photographs were taken with a large format camera on 12 x 20 inch black and white negatives. It is an imprint of ‘nature’, just as she portrayed herself to my camera lens.Two is the second part of this project, a book with a series of drawings of the negatives that I shot in the summer of 2013. A number of tables in which I have noted the distances from tree to tree and to the camera lens complements these drawings. Although the information in a photo is more complete and more detailed, my notes in the field enabled me to show where my attention was focused. Thanks to the small sketches and measurements that I had made of the trees, I was able to pinpoint which trees in the photos had first captured my imagination.
My next step was to make full-size pencil drawings of my negatives. These drawings, which are compiled in this book, were the guiding spirit for the printing of the negatives. In these, I experimented with the use of colour and responded to the rhythms of trees, revealing a fresh reality. Each of the books contains one of the resulting proofs.The discoveries of Henry Fox Talbot and many others led to an extraordinary feeling of optimism. There was at last an instrument that could reduce human influence in producing an image. Now, more than 150 years later, photography can capture ‘nature in a natural way’, but it is also an important medium for modifying ‘nature in a natural way’. That is the power of persuasion of photography. But it was the tip of the pencil that conducted me through the landscape, noted what caught my attention and helped me to locate this again later.
Witho Worms is a Dutch artist-photographer. He has a Master’s degree in Anthropology (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) and studied Audiovisual design and Photography (Homeschool voor de Kinston, Utrecht, Netherlands)….. His background in visual anthropology has led him into an ongoing investigation of the photographic medium and its claim to natural representation and factuality. His special interest is in landscapes. To be more precise, he finds his subjects where the distinction between a natural and cultural environment becomes hazy.
After photographing the Dutch polders he shifted his attention to the slagheaps from the coal mining industries in Western Europe in 2006. In 2013 he started to work on forests in Finland, Sweden, France and Belgium. He spent weeks in forests that are grown for timber, paper and other purposes. He did three chapters for this project – in the spring of 2013 he finished with the chapter Tree.
His publication “La montagne c’est moi” obtained The Best Dutch Book Design 2012 and was short-listed for the Paris Photo-Aperture first Photo Book Award. He won the Gold Medal 2013 for “The most beautiful book of the world”: Stiftung Buchkunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist