Thursday, December 2, 2010

cause every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

The artist writes of this photo: " Deep inside the woods we found this sharp dressed little man. That small hand to the right just had to touch him to se if he was for real."

Jonas Fransson's profile is not very forthcoming with details.

It is as mysterious as his photos generally are.

I think it is safe to say the artist resides in Sweden and is Swedish by birth.

He is drawn to beautiful absences.

If you visit his Photostream, you will find the artist has a sensitivity for the evanescent. He often creates photos which leave the viewer with the feeling that fairy tales have been half begun, but suddenly interrupted, as the teller of the tales has been called away...for an unknown reason and unknown duration. Possibly forever.

He wanders forests, and often looks at these remotenesses (awkward but accurate word) with the same dark child's eye the Brothers Grimm did.

He photographs abandoned houses found deep in the Swedish woods, but never gives over (as a lesser artist would) to treacly nostalgia or schwarmerei. He realizes the joy which still inheres in these objects, even after their abandonment. That hability lends many of his pictures a slight supernatural tinge. It why the images linger with the viewer, why his photos produce such strong afterimages.

Fransson even manages to make a Swedish IKEA feel haunted (!) and in one photo renders an IKEA shopper a convincing ghost.

He gives many of his photos mordantly funny captions (Jonas knows English well) which often torque the pieces in unexpected directions.

The photograph above (with its funny caption invoking ZZ Topp) achieves the poetic effects I describe above. There is a strange feeling that the abandoned doll is perfectly fine with its abandonment, the spooky sense that "life goes on" even when the human is subtracted.

And, of course, we are in a part of the world where troll mythology is humorously still alive (more so in Iceland, but I'm sure Sweden has its fair share of troll lore).

So the photograph presents a familiar Scandinavian archetype.

The choice of framing, with the human arm presenting the doll makes all the difference.

The human is "put in its place." Nature and mythology are much larger than the individual human, and the photo is proportioning itself (mathematically) along those lines.

We might need the human to prop the doll and take the photograph, but once the doll has entered vision and the imagination, it has a "life of its own."

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