Persona November, 9th 2023 by

.World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 440 - Michelle Blancke

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 440 – Michelle Blancke
In the autumn exhibition of 2023, the Sandvoort Gallery on the Korte Vijverberg in The Hague presented alongside a number of well-known photographers also some new ones, including Michelle Blancke. I was impressed by her nature photos, both in black and white and in color.

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She was happy to provide some explanation. At one of the high tables of Café Wildschut in Amsterdam, she says she only recently started her photography career. In May she graduated from the Amsterdam Photo Academy after a three-year study.

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Into nature
Nature is her theme. “I like to go into nature, that’s where it starts. I am looking for a state of being in which I no longer think about people or things. Where my attention is absorbed by my feeling for nature. It is a quite intensive process. Only afterwards do I see what the result of the feeling was.”

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She looks for beautiful places within an hour’s radius of the city. Sometimes she also goes to Italy, northern Italy, but also all the way south, to Puglia. “There I also wander around in the woods, but also near the water, lakes and the sea.”

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She has beautiful color effects in her forest photos. The colors are extra strong, somewhat stronger than the natural color. Michelle: “Sometimes something comes to me amplified. I want to pass on that intensity.”

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Does Michelle have a key work? A work that provided inspiration for a whole subsequent series. That is the case indeed. It is an ancient tree that is the starting point for the Secret Garden series (photo no. 1) .
“It has become an abstract, archetypal tree, the context has been removed. The shadow is almost black and you can see the light that the trunk seems to attract. Bruce Springsteen’s song Secret Garden was an inspiration.”

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The song ends with the lines:
She’s got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay
A million miles away
“In the song, the woman Springsteen sings about comes closer, but never completely. That’s what I also look for in nature: the elusive, the hidden. I look for myself in nature, that is also in this song.” There are currently 21 photos in the Secret Garden project, there will be more, because the series is in development.

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She is inspired by artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Awoiska van der Molen, whose work interweaves nature and introspection. “These artists discover themselves in nature and use it to reflect their inner world and create a stage for an authentic connection with viewers. The intensity of their work touches me and resonates with my way of working.”
Michelle is part of the Gravity of Light collective, consisting of colleagues with whom she did the photo training. The ten of them help each other, including with realizing exhibition opportunities.

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Finally, can she formulate her philosophy? She can. Michelle: “Nature is a refuge. Immersed in the natural world we find purity and authenticity. She can free us from expectations and enable us to return to our true essence. For me this means a liberation that opens me to the mysteries of life. As I wander freely, I become aware of the energy in the trees, the water, even the rocks. An energy within myself also awakens, and undiscovered parts of myself come to light.”

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Photo 10: portrait photo of Michelle Blancke

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