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Oswald Wittower's destroyed beauty

"I basically take the photography (those ones go from 2010 to 2019) with whatever camera I have (in those ones, some were even taken with disposable cameras). I have a first result but this is not – I think - the most interesting part of the story. Then I print the picture out and I work on it by hand with different kind of liquids, chemicals, perfumes, lighter, knife, cutter, wet ink from a previous picture, spices ( !)…

Depending on the paper and the ink that is used (some cheap printer ink’s completely mess up the colors), it will give different results. It’s a very exciting mix between complete hazard and big precision. The more I’ve been doing it, the more I could see how to get the result I was aiming for. Then I scan the picture and work on it with Lightroom. Sometimes, the original deteriorated/scanned picture doesn’t look at all and can become something amazing, sometimes it is quite the opposite."

See more of Oswald's work on instagram at @Oswaldwittower

A/A:  How did you get your start in photography?

OW: I have always been highly responsive to the idea of images, but I really decided to take it to another level 10 years ago. I just started to ask some friends to let me take pictures of them. Retrospectively, they were awful, but it made me start to do that more seriously and to experiment as many ways there can be.

A/A:  What attracted you to alternative methods?

OW: What we do find beautiful is a complex question. I guess my interest for alternative methods was somehow logic and went along with a broader perspective of alternativeness (in movies, writings, … ). I’ve never been very attracted by perfect pictures, beautiful faces and obvious colors. What I wanted to display is what I wanted to see and how I perceived it. And the whole process of destroying to form something new is immensely enthralling and gratifying. I guess I apply that idea in many things in my life.

A/A: Do you find your work has a theme?

OW: My work takes different offshoots but I would say the major theme is « the world », both outside, wide, plural, captivating, and inside, ambivalent, composite and mysterious. It’s a lot about memories, but not is a nostalgic way, more like if they were looked an from an alien point of view.

A/A: What are you working on next?

OW: I will keep on doing what I do in the many ways I do it, since I don’t consider any of my series over. I also want to learn new things and new techniques, hopefully get into film soup and handmade color prints. Experiment still and more. And start to make music !

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