Extract from Dr Elbé Coetsee’s opening address to the Launch of the photobook and concurrent solo-exhibition STILL/LIFE IN MOTION – a portrait of time passing by Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht
The photographs included in this exhibition are testimony to the words of distinguished photographer, Ansel Adams who said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”.
This exhibition comprises a fine selection of images from Bettie’s book, STILL/LIFE IN MOTION. It is an exploration of growing older youthfully.
The images allude to our contradictory attitudes towards the natural forces of ageing – those in our physical environment and those of our physical bodies. We often experience the former with awe (see Protea), but the latter with discontent and fear.
Bettie’s conceptual approach to subject matter and unusual camera techniques merge the juxtaposed. Older people dancing, having fun are photographed with slow shutter speed and different types of lighting. The result is extraordinary abstract & expressionist. See for example, “Twilight se voet”, Dance with my Shadow, Glove, Devil’s foot, Touch, Passion!
Well-known photographer, Alfred Stieglitz said that, “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality”.
Bettie, in this subtle manner you have captured images that reflect the joy, spontaneity, as well as the dignity and acceptance of growing older.
I emphasize your message to your daughter, Liezl, and I quote from your book, “May she and all of her generation joyfully embrace each stage of growing older and cherish the wisdom it brings.”
The exhibition comprises a selection of images from the book, STILL/LIFE IN MOTION and explores the effects of time/ageing on body and mind, similar to the erosive processes in nature. Divided into clusters, each governed by a particular emotion, the images comment on our contradictory responses towards natural forces of change in both our physical environment and our bodies. We mostly experience the former with awe; the latter with fear and displeasure.
The exhibition also considers the craft of fine art photography – the effect different printing, mounting and framing methods can have on our experience of the art work. Printed with giclee (digital ink jet) or chemical light jet printing techniques on different types of archival paper, silk or metal affect not only the price but, more importantly, our emotional response to the final product.
All prints are serialised, that is, a limited number of prints from the same digital negative are produced by a Master Printer and signed by the artist. This is similar to the serialised presentation in limited editions of other forms of graphic art, as for instance, etching, lithography and screen printing. These prints are all original works – not copies. The word ‘copy’ is applicable, when unauthorised duplicates of the editioned works are made.
Bettie enjoyed a rich career juggling her way through different professions including specialist journalism, art reviewing and academic research while teaching Art History at the University of Johannesburg. Over the past five years she has switched from writing to indulging in a new interest: fine art photography.