Stephanie Blomkamp | Shroud

7 June - 31 August 2018

Blomkamp has a heart-breaking fondness for the moment that will inevitably vanish and attempts to record it through photography. Shroud is a photography series that explores Vanitas; a 17th Century Dutch genre in art that focused on mortality in still life painting. Still lives of the movement used skulls, decaying fruit and other items to symbolize a predictable end and to induce an awareness of the brevity of life. Though perhaps seen as a morbid topic, Blomkamp views it rather as a celebration of life, a moment to embrace the present. Shroud in its traditional meaning is a cloth to cloak the dead – however the series is not a symbol of an inevitable end, but rather a call to uncover the immediate now. It is an invitation to take advantage of the time we have and not an ode to a bleak memento mori. She embarked on the project a few years after her own encounter with death when her father passed away. After his death she felt disoriented and unsettled. Seeking solace and clarity she began shooting the Shroud series. It was a deeply personal project wherein her struggle with grief gave way to a sense of enlightened acceptance.


A traditionalist photographer using analogue techniques, her main photographic goal is to capture balanced black-and-white images and to celebrate themes such as surrealism and romanticism in her work. She has always been fascinated by the unseen, the unsettling and the strangely beautiful. She shoots solely on a Hasselblad medium format camera using 120mm film. The square format of the camera favours neither landscape nor portrait, making it an ideal shape to shoot the Shroud project, which aims to balance the figure in the space. Shooting on this medium is a conscious choice to slow down time. Unlike digital photography where a photographer can shoot images to infinity, the medium format film camera demands a slower pace and meticulous focus. The format makes her practice discipline with a precise and measured approach.