I met Johs many years ago when he lived in New York and was working for Irving Penn. We became friends at International House, New York where we both lived for two years while I was studying composition at Columbia University.
Bøe is a serious artist and his seriousness is confirmed by the direct addressing of color and form in the photographs in the Hildring series. These photographs focus on light, both in form and color, in other words, light and lightness. The blurring of the edges by defocusing and softening or completely removing outlines accomplishes this dual light and lightness. As a result the images sometimes become translucent and meld with the surroundings like drifting gases. One can feel the balancing of an object as it appears lighter than one would except it to be.
The series includes many photographs but I will address three of them. To get an idea of scale the photographer stands in front of one of his prints. The show opened in November of 2009 at Galleri Trafo in Asker, a suburb of Oslo.
lightness of the objects a contradiction is at play. In fact, most of the images in these photographs take what could have been a heavy tone or presented with gravity but instead lightness takes the place of gravity letting light overcome dark. But do not be mistaken, “light” can be serious, deep and full of metaphor. This is not cheap light, diet light. This is lungs full of fresh air light, mind fully awake light—metaphorical light.
Another luminous photograph is of a man in an interior in front of light filled windows. The light is almost dissolving the walls and objects in the room—even the man’s head. Is the sun’s light vaporizing?Is the photograph a moment of suspended vaporization?
In another photograph the light is dissolving the image. The body is verging on weightlessness. And the body’s gait aides in the illusion of lightness. But before it floats away it more likely will dissipate like a cloud of steam.