Adam Jeppesen “Out of Camp” exhibition at C/O Berlin

Adam Jeppesen’s “Out of Camp” exhibition (16/07/16 - 25/09/16) is the first instalment of the “Thinking about Photography” series at C/O Berlin, a major art gallery and educational institute which specializes in contemporary photography. 

Jeppesen is a Copenhagen-based photographer who travelsd solo with his camera from the North Pole to the Antarctic. He documented the footprints of his journey, and he shot a series of landscape images along the way: mountains, seas, rivers, glaciers, hills and valleys. 

I’m sure most photographers would be happy with any images that they managed to bring home from such a trip. But Jeppesen stopped to question whether his photographs in fact truly represented what he experienced out there in the wilds. This left him with a sense of distance between the many hardships of his journey and the stereotypically “beautiful” landscape images that were the result. 

Jeppesen experimented with how he produces, perceives and presents his images in an attempt to bridge the gap between his experienced reality and photos which simply project “pretty” mountains or deserted fields. 

The result was one of the most interesting and innovative displays of landscape photography I’ve seen so far. For example, several prints had dust and scratches on them. Jeppesen left them that way because this is what the trip did to his prints. Other prints were cut into pieces and then reassembled and stuck on the wall with pins. Jeppesen also showed large prints of glaciers in Iceland which had folded marks on them. He printed these images on semi-transparent rice paper, and the end result gives the impression of having been stored in a dusty drawer for decades. 

Jeppesen also experimented with the photogravure technique. He created a series of 8 prints of the same image, but he only coated the printing block with ink once. The first image in each series is of course the most sharply defined, but by the time we reach the last image, the ink is gone and all we see is the imprint of the block on paper. As you move through these prints one by one, figures such as airplanes and open desert landscapes fade away like ghosts — just like our memories of those journeys fade away over time. 

In experimenting with the idea of imperfection and its aesthetic value, Jeppesen retains what many photographers choose to erase or crop with Photoshop. He treats photographic images and prints as “objects”, something we can touch and feel, and he chooses to manipulate his photos using only analogue methods. 

His images become emotionally intense and real as a result. I felt the ‘textures’ of his prints without touching them, and the landscapes he captured as prints spoke to me about the physical challenges of his journey.   

Using Format