Faded, tattered, survivors of the death throes of built-in obsolescence, the portraits captured by Edouard Janssens are moments suspended in time snatched from the realms of memory like the fragments of a forgotten fresco coyly revealing a part of what it has to tell. They are a freeze-frame in time, an obstacle over which destiny trips and stumbles. They contain the stirrings of hope of a life to be reinvented.
The female faces, illuminated by expressions that are by turns dreamy, enigmatic, or insistent, are endowed with the old-world grace of portraits of yesteryear, preserving the secrets of a slumbering memory. Some have the troubling depth of beings who, having emerged from nothingness, savour, with astonishment, the image of their own improbable birth.
Belgian photographer Edouard Janssens is caught up once again in a game of challenge and in these Expired Instants he asks the eternal question of what obsolescence means. This series of photos is spun from the magic of a long-outdated camera and an old box of Polaroid film in a project seeking to rekindle their ardour. The stated expiry of a box of instant film, its use-by date serving as a reference, is replaced by the symbolic rebirth of a woman born at that precise moment. Death…life…the same universal themes are once again returned to.
Whether the result of chance complicity or “programmed” coincidence, these photographs, with their random edges, are like indefinite traces left by the attrition of time. They translate the urgency of living and just how precarious an idealised image of femininity can be in a world haunted by death and obsessed by eternal youth.