was an architect. He was supposed to become one too but although
he has always kept a great interest in that profession, making documentary
films became his main fascination. Soon he discovered that the work
of directing a film is closely related to the work of an architect:
only a director locates his films in the dimension of time as an
architect places his work in space.
After his television career he changed from cinematography
to the photographic domain. From movement to stillness. The stillness
of the graphic. But just as one film shot doesn’t make cinematography
one single photo shot is not enough for Tholens’ photographic
evocation. For that he needs more.
Tholens developed - inspired by his cinematographic
past – an analytic eye, a visual facility with which he dissects
real objects around us in order to build up abstract graphic images
from them, with their own harmony, colour pattern and aesthetic
forms. Next to this, the mirrored images in connection with the
real ones, play an important role in his work. In this way he creates
an enormous variety of surprising imaginative effects.
“Composites” he calls his pictures.
Composites are materials in which two or more substances are combined
to create a better quality material. Composites are lighter, stronger
and are easier to form than the non combined parts. A description
that fits nicely with Tholens’ photography.
Until 2003 he mainly worked the analogue way via
darkroom or laboratory then sticking the pictures together by hand.
Nowadays the digital camera and the lightroom of the computer are
the tools for his composites. But in making a composite, the first
shot he takes from reality stays at the base and is in principle
not to be manipulated and it is precisely then, in editing the original
or mirrored pictures, sometimes mixed with subtly different ones,
that Tholens’ creativity starts in full.
Kees van Langeraad
Joost Tholens, *Amsterdam
London School of Film Technique London