When he coined the theme of his photography exhibition 'Photography Redefined', many thought he eas just another photographer who wanted to sound like painter.
But after decorating the walls of Thapong Visual Arts Centre with his sublimely artistic photographs during the exhibition opening on Monday, it is finally evident that fine art photographer, Pako Lesejane reveals that the link between paintings and photographs goes both ways.
For those who has been questioning whether photography is art, the answer lies on the walls of the gallery and his techniques crush down the idea that photography cannot compete with works of art.
“I have prepared 20 photographs using different techniques such as 3D hand photomontage, lift and transfer using wax paper and hand sanitiser, hand painting and glass overlay on both digital and film photographs,” Lesejane said during the opening night of the exhibition.
From his floating rocks artwork at the gallery door to the sand dunes at the corner of the gallery, Lesejane’s works elevate imagination.
His photographs, like paintings, are detailed and constructed depiction of various subjects ranging from people to landscapes. In every artwork, he reveals what he did to come up with the end result and it looks carefully composed and produced. “I decided to go off the beaten track with photography. On some landscape photographs, I have on some used a Neutral Density Filter to slow down the exposure as well as to control highlights,” he explained.
Fine photographers do not just reproduce the scene as it is, but go on to an extent of revealing something other than the obvious. Despite the fact that he is a traveller, Lesejane’s works shows than he is a man who likes his surroundings and most of the works are dominated by beautiful landscapes and he captures more than just surface appearances. Even Lesejane himself admitted that fine art photograph
“My aim is towards producing a more personal, evocative impression. Like in my works of fine art photography, I have photographed a subject, printed the photograph and after that using acrylic paint, water colour paint, sugar overlays and chemicals like turpentine, thinners and at some point even burning or tearing some parts of the photograph in accordance with my creative vision. So it is more about what the photographer sees than what the camera sees. A camera is basically one more tool to help create a work of art to help reveal the vision of the artist,” he highlighted.
Photography’s earliest practitioners looked to paintings when they were first exploring their technology’s potential but today things have changed because many fine artists like painters often admit that they gain inspiration from photographs. Lesejane said he hoped other artists and art lovers would find these techniques and skills used very interesting and as part of the new art in the world of photography here in Botswana.
Lesejane said many photographers have taken a different route of portraiture; wedding photography, documentary and fashion as these genres are quick on cash but he decided to do fine Art Photography. “It has grown over the years even though for many it is a headache because you don’t get the results immediately after the long process of just working on a single piece.
Sometimes one even tries using different chemicals like hand sanitiser instead of water. But when you finally get the results you want, it brings joy and happiness.” Lesejane’s exhibition opened on Monday and will run for two weeks.