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Jacob Kaptein

Heaven’s flowers

Also heaven’s flowers can be picked. ‘Carefully!’, because these flowers are fragile as well. Luckely, they don’t perish. Heaven’s flowers stay with us forever. Unfortunately, we are not continuously aware of this. It is like walking through a meadow full of flowers, but overgrown by grasses. However sometimes, unprepared and unexpected, we sense the full beauty of a heavenly flower through a color, an odor or maybe even a flower from earth. And like the flower rises up towards the sun from where the energy is coming, this encounter lets us travel to a blissful realm where everything is pure, shiny, colorful and in balance. After we ground ourselves on the earth again, we see everywhere flowers on the side of our roads. And flowers in the sky.

You are presenting us your collection “Heaven’s Flowers”, tell us more!

“Heaven’s flowers” is a collection of multiple exposure photographs taken with a radial symmetric technique that makes them look like flowers. Flowers are a symbol of beauty, balance, fragility, joy and eternity. In our daily life we pick the ones which are attracting us at the very moment. For each special event, like birth and death different flowers decorate the scenes of our life. Like flowers, mandalas can help us to travel through the beautiful and difficult times in life. Every mandala has its different depths of colors and shapes and their own unique feeling and meaning.


So, these are your interpretation of a mandala?

The mandala is like the flower wanting to attract your attention. It screams: ‘look at me. Go towards my center.’ And helped by this art we surrender and get lost in each micro cosmos, reaching the world’s center and also our own. We can use mandalas in our everyday life, like we put flowers on our table in the middle of the room: to remind ourselves constantly to travel inwards.

When you are with your nose on the picture, many details can be seen, seemingly chaotically distributed. There are so many shapes that we can’t distinguish anymore what the shape represents. I like to search and get lost in imagination of what the picture shows. But afterwards I feel the need to find myself back, to search for harmony. To see this we need to zoom out, take a step back, to see the whole picture and find the balance.

And can you tell us a bit more about the technique behind the art?

The video consists out of photographic mandalas. I open and close the shutter of the camera 8 times, each time rotating the camera ±45 degrees around its own horizontal axis, while continuing to focus my lens on the exact same focus point. With each subsequent image I let the light fall on the same photosensitive sensor (and picture) again, so that in the camera 8 exposures are merged into one resulting photo. In nature there is usually no pure symmetry. The same goes for this footage. Between each re-exposure to the sensor, there is a short period of time during which the situation changes : the river flows on, the flower moves in the wind, the duck dives under water… I also take the photo from the hand. The angle degree is never exactly 45 degrees. The results of these small differences still surprises me, just like in life many events happen in patterns, yet are slightly different every time.

The pictures are taking during my hitchhiking trips all over the world, reflecting the always present beauty of life, colors, shapes, water, earth and sky.

In the video montage I put each picture in the center of the next fitting picture. Afterwards I apply a spiral zoom movement from one picture to the next. The last picture is the same as the first so that the movement becomes an ‘infinite’ zoom.


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