Artist Lilian Wildeboer: Where the Wild Orchids Grow

Written by Anne Silver

 

“It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.”

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

 

In between it all, between the one great mystery the other, there is art, that savagely beautiful landscape of the soul.  Artists create new worlds for us to explore. They bring us to the edges of places that exist somewhere in the space between memories and dreams, new lands where we escape this hard-edged world and lose ourselves for a while.   They possess the rare ability to make us suspend our grip on reality.  They speak to us of the possibility of all things.  For a few moments, we recall the sense of wonder that accompanied us throughout childhood, we feel a lightness of spirit, and allow our selves to drift off, carried away with the flutter of fairy wings.  

In her series “Where the Wild Orchids Grow,” Dutch artist Lilian Wildeboer has created a world beyond the boundaries of imagination.  Lilian is one who often pushes the limits of what is possible in photography, leaving her viewers to ask themselves in a state of amazement, “How did she do that!?”   Some things are better left unexplained. I prefer to let the mystery of Lilian’s genius remain hidden among the shadows, carefully concealed outside of the frame of her beloved Polaroid cameras.  

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.” 
― Mary OliverHouse of Light

 

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“That night, I fell into a deep, travel-weary sleep, lulled by the familiar sound of the waterfall beyond the window. I dreamed of the beck fairies, a blur of lavender and rose-pink and buttercup-yellow light, flitting across the glittering stream, beckoning me to follow them toward the woodland cottage. There, the little girl with flame-red hair picked daisies in the garden, threading them together to make a garland for her hair. She picked a posy of wildflowers- harebell, bindweed, campion, and bladderwort- and gave them to me.” 
― Hazel GaynorThe Cottingley Secret

 
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Lilian Wildeboer is a Dutch photographer who lives near Amsterdam, Netherlands.  She has been a devotée of instant film since 2010 when she was captured by its magic.  Using a variety of instant cameras and films, as well as an arsenal of traditional art materials, Lilian creates images that are uniquely her own.  She is never afraid to experiment or to fail, and her failures are often repurposed into something else.  Lilian's creativity, curiosity, and resilience inspire us to embrace challenges, to re-examine how we look at things, and to see "failures" as invitations to explore other ways of making images.

Lilian tells us that she has always had a love of botany and has enjoyed taking macro images of the wild orchids that she searches out in the woods and fields close to her home.  The series "Where the Wild Orchids Grow" evolved from her love for these rare and elusive flowers and her penchant for creating beauty.  

You can view more of Lilian Wildeboer's photography on Flickr and on Instagram.  

 

 

 

All photos in this article are the exclusive property of ©Lilian Wildeboer, 2018, and cannot be used or reproduced in any fashion without the written permission of the author.  

 

©PRYME Editions, 2018.

 

Artist Marit Beer, Collector of Secrets (NSFW)

“Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story? Are you ready? Shall I begin? Once upon a time, there were four girls. One was pretty. One was clever. One charming, and one...one was mysterious. But they were all damaged, you see. Something not right about the lot of them. Bad blood. Big dreams. Oh, I left that part out. Sorry, that should have come before. They were all dreamers, these girls. One by one, night after night, the girls came together. And they sinned. Do you know what that sin was? No one? Pippa? Ann? Their sin was that they believed. Believed they could be different. Special. They believed they could change what they were--damaged, unloved. Cast-off things. They would be alive, adored, needed. Necessary. But it wasn't true. This is a ghost story remember? A tragedy. They were misled. Betrayed by their own stupid hopes. Things couldn't be different for them, because they weren't special after all. So life took them, led them, and they went along, you see? They faded before their own eyes, till they were nothing more than living ghosts, haunting each other with what could be. With what can't be. There, now. Isn't that the scariest story you've ever heard?”

Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty


There are some images that stick with us long after they have faded from sight.  Upon seeing them for the first time, we may stop dead in our tracks.  They may whisper to us of darker things, of uncertainty, of loss.  They may reappear in our dreams.  They may be something we return to in our thoughts, again and again, as we try to deconstruct the scene, attempt to uncover its essence and thus, understand the power it holds over us.  

German artist Marit Beer creates images that have a way of getting into one's psyche.  Marit's visual haikus are searing and evocative.  There is something of a haunted look in her characters' eyes.  It draws us in and makes us want to know more.   We are not sure if her characters are in the process of materializing or of disappearing, but they speak of those spaces in-between.  We wonder about their heartbreak and their shattered dreams.  We wonder what secrets they hold in the guarded chambers of their hearts.  We wonder about the thousands of tiny deaths they have known, and if there were any little rebirths along the way, the kind that offered glimmers of hope and the strength to keep going.  Like any good storyteller, Marit keeps plenty of secrets, leaving space for us to roam across the vast plains of our imagination.  Her approach to photography speaks to the power of suggestion and simplicity.  We are as captivated by the evanescent beauty in her photos as we are by the implied sense of the tragic.  Marit invites us to step inside, to the place that exists between nostalgia and hope, between the fantoms and the haunted, between what once was and what never will be.


 

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“I refuse to let the past find me here.”

Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

 
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“But forgiveness...I'll hold onto that fragile slice of hope and keep it close remembering that in each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret. cruelty and sacrifice. We're each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion trying to emerge into something solid, something real. We've got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there's an awful lot of gray to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.  You have to take whatever light you can hold, into the dark with you.”

Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

 
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Marit is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in Berlin. She tells us,  "When I was a child I wished for a hat to make me invisible when I put it on. I wanted to wander through crowds and listen to people's conversations, discover their secrets. Later on, I wanted to be like the angel Damiel in "Wings of Desire". There is a scene in which he is sitting next to people in the U-Bahn and listening to their thoughts.

To say that I look for truth, for authenticity in my art would be presumptious. I am, rather, looking for transitions -- from what we believe we are, what others see in us, and what we dream or fear. This feeling is what I try to capture in pictures and lately also, in animations. Sequences that reveal nothing but evoke something which lurks deep inside of us. 

My favorite materials are analog instant, 35mm, or medium format film. I like to use Fuji FP 100C inside. It makes the room seem unreal, and colors swing between blue and green. The people in the pictures dissipate and become more than just bodies. I like to keep it simple, refrain from too much decor and work with what is there, which could be apples from our garden, twigs, an abandoned bird's nest, or an old collar. 

Since Fuji FP-100C has been discontinued I like to do animations using 35mm film and will see where it will take me. But I am always searching for old polaroid material and hope to find some once in a while."

Marit's work had been widely featured in exhibitions throughout Europe.  It has been published in the book WERKDRUCK No. 45, Edited by Alexander Scholz, Edition Galerie Vevais:  http://galerievevais.de/products/item.werkdruck_45.html

You can see more of Marit Beer's photography on these websites:  maritbeer@gmx.de and www.maritbeer.de  

You can also follow Marit on Instagram.  

 

*All photos are the exclusive property of ©Marit Beer, 2018, and cannot be used without her explicit written permission.  ©Pryme Editions, 2018.