Blomkamp has a heartbreaking 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 deeeply 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 soley 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 concious 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.
ABOUT STEPHANIE BLOMKAMP
Blomkamp was born in 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Canada in 1997. She earned a BA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia, where she was president of the photography society. She is a self-taught photographer who worked in the film industry as a stills photographer from 2010-2014 on major productions in North America. Her urge to pursue more traditional forms of fine art photography led her to the booming photography scene in London in 2014. She studied Art History at Sotheby’s and embarked on her Shroud series.
Blomkamp was a successful entrant into theRoyal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition 2016 in London where Shroud was put on display. The prestigious show is the largest open competition in existence, and showcases the best of contemporary art from all of the world.
Blomkamp lives in Cape town working on photography projects, and is currently launching a photography and art magazine.