The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth is a collection of images taken over a four-year period by Swedish photographers Inka & Niclas Lindergård. The book is a combination of six interweaving series of images which tie together the main themes of the book. The Lindergårds challenge the viewer’s perception of the picturesque landscape as well as other underlying aspects of photography, using various photographic tricks to achieve the surreal and mystical scenes. All effects are achieved in camera, often taking weeks to make a single image.
At the end of the book the images are grouped into sections
Adaptive Colorations - A collection of 3d printed rocks with images on the surface. Images of these objects are scattered throughout, appearing small and at times between the pages in the center of the book.
Becoming Wilderness - Images commenting on the picturesque landscape. The couple recreate events present in nature eg. sunsets, clouds, auroras, with visual effects.
Vista Point - By sticking a coin to the front of their lens, beautiful scenes are sucked into a black void protruding from the center of the image.
Family Portraits - self portraits of the photographers dressed in reflective clothing, leaving a silhouette of the artists emitting god like light.
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth - Rocks manipulated by coloured flash
The Pentagram Position - reflective materials placed in grassy landscapes
What the Lindergårds create here is a reality with a different set of physics. A world in which the artist is the 'god' or creator.
Speaking on the concepts behind the book the artists said:
"The photographic reality very much resembles and connects to the physical one, but it is very much its own [reality], with its own set of rules."
What makes this book work so well is that whilst having clear conceptual ideas, the books main focus is still on the image. The book works well formally and aesthetically, whilst playing with and critiquing the conventions of the picturesque.
This book has been big inspiration for my project. I plan to use similar techniques and aesthetics to convey a sense of surealness in my images, whilst hopefully maintaining the same consistency in aesthetics as the Lindergards manage here.