“The greater the occurrence and impact of natural disaster, the more we seem to distance ourselves from these signs.”
Jeremy Blincoe about “The Chimera of Control”
“Every prop, costume, animal or person that appears in my images plays a significant role in the visual narratives I construct using photography and digital technologies. In this, my process of production is pivotal; each element is selected or designed and made then placed, photographed and sometimes composited using digital technologies so that the sum – the final image – is greater than its parts, each work being a personal exploration or expression of the concerns I have about contemporary human existence.
The Chimera of Control series is also set in or against a variety of strange and mysterious natural settings that I either shoot on-location or edit in during post-production: limestone and rock caves; the undulating dunes of a sandy desert; an ice-covered lake in front of a spectacular cliff-face; the cracked and blackened-earth shores of a dried up lake, and so forth. While adding dramatic visual impact, they also function as signifiers of the beauty and/or degradation and destruction our natural environment suffers through human intervention and natural disaster.
“We are increasingly in denial of what is happening to the environment.”
As population growth increases exponentially so does our demand for material goods that seems to accompany a growing concern with wealth, status, power and a desire for perfection. As our rate of production and consumption increases, so does the rate we exploit our natural resources, and our production of waste. At the same time I believe we are increasingly in denial of what is happening to the environment; the greater the occurrence and impact of natural disaster, the more we seem to distance ourselves from these signs.
Many of my images deal with the impact of material desire and the pursuit of perfection; a young girl dressed in a pearl-covered straightjacket stands in a pool of white water and stares at her own reflection, not just bound by but immersed in a narcissism resulting from her attempts to attain some kind of purity through material perfection.
Inside a dark cave another is thrown by a horse in her attempts to control its wild impulse for freedom, just as humans continue being surprised by the uncontrollable forces of nature; a ballerina pirouettes atop a stack of burning rubber tyres in a post-apocalyptic landscape, highlighting the contrast between the pursuit of precision and perfection on the one hand as we pollute the natural world on the other, a doom-laden sky perhaps indicating the demise of the environment and ourselves if we continue in this direction.
In my attempts to create drama using these out-of-the-ordinary settings, and in the layering of signs and symbols presented in my use of props, costumes, people and animals.
“What are we doing to ourselves and to the environment, and where are we heading…?”
I try to seduce viewers to look more deeply in to my work, to ‘enter’ the imagery and create their own narrative(s) and response(s) – which may pertain to the inner feelings or thoughts about the issues my work triggers or be drawn from life experience or arise out of some myth, folk-lore or fairy tale – as well as stimulating them to look more deeply at human existence and ask: what are we doing to ourselves and to the environment, and where are we heading…?”
Interview with Jeremy Blincoe
Jeremy, what is the series “Chimera of Control” about?
The series is about Disconnection. Each of us caught up in a bubble of consumption, the pursuit of material objects and the obtainment of success in your chosen career path. All of these things create a cloudy haze blurring the fact that we are all small parts of nature, interconnected and alive for the briefest moment on a remarkable planet whose existence defies all probabilities.
How did you come up with the idea?
It came from meditating on my own anxieties about these issues. The images were created, rather selfishly to question my own beliefs and through the process of creating them perhaps mold myself to a better, more interconnected human.
What were the most beautiful, challenging or remarkable moments working on this series?
“Photography is an amazing key to unlock doors to met people.”
Spending a week photographing in Central Queensland at one of the largest coal mines in Australia was incredibly eye-opening for me. The sheer scale of the operation and the transformational scarring of the landscape has forever stayed with me.
Working with Bruce and Jane O’dell in Mayborough shooting the black horse Ranger for my image Ego and Nature was amazing. Such incredibly warm and open people, also amazing horse riders both being Rodeo stars. Photography is an amazing key to unlock doors to met people and explore locations that you may not have access to otherwise which make it such a rewarding and enlightening medium to work in.
How was the creative process? How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
I would describe myself as an image-maker and would love to be considered a story-teller.
The creative process starts for me from reading a diverse range of material on the ideas that I am interested in expressing. Perhaps two of my favorite books when making this series were: Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey and Tom Wessels, The Myth Of Progress.
Once I have an idea I will start scribbling and drawing notes in my journal. I will then work with my costume maker to create the required costumes.
The location is super important to me, often I may already have an idea of where I would like to shoot other times I will go on a road trip and explore to find an ideal spot. I try to shoot everything I can on location, though often this is not possible and thus I will combine the location shots with studio shots in post-production.
Why did you become a photographer?
I was lost and started to become jaded with the life of chasing winters and skiing, although I do not regret these years of play one bit, I found my first camera, a panoramic point and shoot on a mountain access road in Wanaka, then fell in love with photographing my friends and landscapes, it also gave me real purpose to explore and go on missions. From then on it has continued to be a predominate passion in my life.
What does photography mean to you?
It is everything, I love living within the world of my imagination. Manifesting ideas and sharing them with others really gives me a great sense of satisfaction and purpose in life.
Which photographer has inspired you most? Did you have a point of reference when realizing your series?
“There is a beauty in the mystery of the narratives.”
I think the work of Gregory Crewdson has been constant source of inspiration for me, from when I first discovered his work at University till now. There is a beauty in the mystery of the narratives, which keeps you coming back.
I didn’t have a point of reference for this series, I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting and creating images with aesthetics perhaps much different from previous bodies of work.
Which photographer (contemporary, friend, colleague etc.) has caught your attention lately?
I really love the work of Wang Qingsong, the scale of his production motivates me to keep pushing my ideas, coupled with his astute social commentary and beautiful large-scale prints make me a great admirer.
More about Jeremy Blincoe
Jeremy Blincoe (born 1981 in Auckland, NZ) currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.
He studied photography at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.
He shoots with a Nikon D800e, 24mm and 35mm lens – using Profoto studio lights and Broncolor portable location lights.
When browsing the internet for photography he enjoys stopping by on “Conscientious” www.cphmag.com.
Jeremy Blincoe has been previously featured on the site, check out “Conceptual Narratives”.
Advice from Jeremy Blincoe for someone who wants to get started with photography:
“Persistence and patience are fundamental traits.”
“Photography for me is primarily a tool to tell stories. I think most importantly it is to find what you are passionate about expressing, stay true to your ideas, don’t follow trends and no matter what other might say keep making your ideas and keep progressing. Persistence and patience are I believe fundamental traits in the mental tool kit of a photographer.”