He Who Wants Fire Must Be Able To Bear Smoke by Dutch photographer and graphic designer Welmer Keesmaat (who is also the founding editor of Yvi art magazine) represents his knowledge of where contemporary photography is right now, as well as that of a more art historical context.
Aesthetically speaking the work points to the history of Dutch and Northern European painting with its attention to chiaroscuro, creating a sense of foreboding and depth. This effect works just as well with the fractured body parts – limbs mostly, hips and backs – but also with the abstract images of blurred nightmarish landscapes and the more weightless aspects of surfaces such as glass and water.
What prevents the work from being just another body of work that plays on these art historical references is his use of photographing images from screens (TV or computer) so as to introduce a more conceptually dense photographic trope, that is re-photographing a subject to suggest how we interact with photographic imagery. It is a dark (sinister even) poem, visually and metaphorically, with abstractions working satisfyingly well with the apparent. There is a disquieting effect on the reader, which through the brevity of narrative requires a return.
He Who Wants Fire Must Be Able To Bear Smoke is published by Contentement and is available to purchase from the directly website here