Photo Friday with Catherine Balet
Similar to last week’s Photo Friday, Catherine Balet’s series Strangers in the Light relies on cell phone photography. While Balet is not using a cell phone for her photos , she is fascinated with the ubiquitous use of cell phones and similar technologies used to capture day to day events. Although her photographs exhibit subjects ostensibly failing to interact with each other and only engaging with their electronics, it should not be assumed that Balet is simply criticizing the dominance of these devices in our lives. However, there is definitely a playful irony to the images, such as the group of friends having a picnic but all occupied with their phones and laptops.
Perhaps Balet’s most brilliant image in the series is the portrait recalling Manet’s Olympia. Here the viewer is faced with an image that is undoubtedly from the 21st century, but that alludes to an image from the 19th century in a way that strikes the viewer with the differences between these two eras.
A recent article in Lens Culturegives us insight into Balet’s inspiration and motivation for the series:
“One summer night Catherine Balet was inspired by the sight of a young couple, standing in the sea bathed in moonlight, shooting a self-portrait with a mobile phone. She was touched by the beauty of the scene, the two white bodies revealed by the lightning of the electric flash, and was struck that this was the point where technology met romanticism. The future embraced the past, blending the blue technological gleam with the natural golden light. This digital twilight glow was like the chiaroscuro of the 21st century.”
For the entire series, click here.