More than the Sum of the Parts
To call him a landscape photographer is akin to describing Table Mountain as a large flat rock. To label him as a graphic artist also leaves much to be desired. A photo-graphic artist? Unwieldy and lacklustre.
The fact of the matter is that Herman van Bon as a photographer and as an artist is not easily pigeon-holed. Words fall short when describing his work and how he achieves it. In this case, his pictures are more than the sum of their parts.
Although a good photographer’s landscapes are far from flat, the observer does, in most cases, get what he or she sees: a representation of a country or marine scene.
So far, so good.
For Herman, however, the capturing of a landscape is just the beginning. It is his playground. He starts to experiment and explore and play, using different kinds of photo-processing and –developing software and techniques, and, organically, his pictures begin to grow.
Layer by layer, the original shot metamorphosises into something extraordinary. Textures, tones, figures, symbols, quirky composites, and what appear figments of the imagination to the eye are included.
This process can take weeks.
The result is a contemporary, deeply personal interpretation, a fascinating fantasia of different forms, as far away from just a landscape full of special effects as you and I could imagine.
Herman describes it as: “Associations that lead to the awakening of the archetypes part of the universal heritage of humankind; born in prehistoric times”.
Herman explains: “I am a very complex person and this complexity reflects in my work in the sense that I produce landscapes, haikus, photo-graphic mixed media and imaginary photography next to abstract and portrait photography. Occasionally I paint or apply ‘fluidization’ to my pictures. Sometimes – more often than not – it all comes together.”
Herman’s work is by far more than the sum of its parts. And it isn’t always easy on the observer. When this writer read the following understanding of art by the controversial British street artist, Banksy, she thought, that’s what Herman van Bon does:
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
“Wat T.T. Cloete in sy gedig sê is waar: ‘die aarde is deur een dichter gemaak’. Mensen soos Herman van Bon het die gare om dit dmv fotografie vast te lê …. Dankie!” - Awie van Wyk
“The Hieronymous Bosch of the digital era”. - Lizia Nieman (RIP), L’Art Niemaclature
“Absolute fantastic”. - Hettie Saayman
“In the Eye of the Beholder of Herman van Bon is a surprising and lovely image from South Africa” - Review of groups exhibition in LAC Los Angeles in LA-Times
“Herman van Bon has an amazing eye for capturing beauty”. - Kamalini Govender in Tales and Dreams (USA)