Julie van der Vaart

For her series Spleen Dutch photographer Julie van der Vaart (Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg Genk, 2013) was inspired by a poem by Charles Baudelaire. In her earlier work Le Sentiment De L’Éphémère – for which she was also selected for the 2014 Photo Festival – she tried to express notions of loss and fleeting moments in life, after losing a family member. Realizing now that most things will eventually come to pass, she turns to photography to explore concepts such as permanence and grief. Spleen can be seen as a more refined and an emotionally less raw representation of her previous series. Instead of focusing on her own personal emotions, she is now trying to convey a more universal feeling of melancholia. By referring to this physical and mental state her dark black-and-white images show emotions of grief and sadness. The rigid human body emphasizes feelings of vulnerability as well as hopelessness. Her photographs expose the muteness of the melancholic state in both body and mind, as well as the incapacity to connect to the surroundings, in all its bareness.