Since 2014 I have walked along the Danube river. From its mouth at the Black Sea, I followed the river via Moldova, Ukraine and Romania, up along the edge of Bulgaria and into Serbia.
When I look at the river, I see a stream of thoughts. And when I visualise my thoughts, I picture leaves flowing down the river. Picking up a leaf or flower from the river and separating it from their environment leads to a change in perception. They become precious relics that once were merely nature’s debris. This reflective process of selecting thoughts to cherish, or letting them flow past and out of sight on the river, is a familiar form of meditation, and a lesson well thought by the ever changing stream of the river.
Everything flows is a series of non expressionistic photographs of these relics, like sand, stones, broken flowers and seeds that I picked up from the river and photographed with industrial and biological microscopes. Some are organised in grids and freed from their impermanent state to allow new interpretations through unexpected arrangements and forms.
When studying the imperfections of a damaged flower with a microscope, they come to life. They show familiar faces hiding in the veins of its leaf. This anthropomorphic personification, creates a rare bond. And once the flower is floating in the circular frame of the microscope and placed agains a dark blue background, nature’s rarest pigment, she appears no longer broken, but a conscious design of imperfection.
The river’s constant change and its richness of metaphors are celebrating the circulation of life. This force of the river has been my emotional (comforting)- as well as my pragmatic guide on this journey. As Heraclitus said, ‘you can never step in the same river twice’. Thus my photographs of these relics are solely a lasting evidence of the temporary state the river, and I, were once in.
Artists: Joost Vandebrug