Chromogenic print. Edition 1/5.
In his Gravity, Liquid series, Janiak creates visual representations of the idea that form cannot exist without an environment. There are the visible forms we see in the world, and then there are the conditions that allow those forms to exist. As a catalyst for his exploration of this topic, Janiak chose gravity, one of the most ubiquitous and easily observable forces, and the one that allows so many forms in the physical universe to exist. The photographs in these series show two types of matter—liquids and gasses—being manipulated by gravity. Form is frozen by the photographic process, but the process is ever changing depending on the shifting conditions of their environment.
Seb Janiak is a photographic artist whose work explores conditions in which opposites can co-exist, revealing the visual characteristics of the hidden forces that shape the physical universe. He creates images that blend science with creativity, analytics with the poetic. He lives and works in Paris, France.
Janiak began his career as a graphic designer. While freelancing, he engaged with state-of-the-art technology, becoming a pioneer in the field of digital photography. His work gained him global attention, and he expanded into music video directing, fashion photography, and finally into fine art. Since 2009, he has focused on expanding the potential of contemporary analogue photography.
Since 2009, Janiak has only used basic photographic tools. He says, “I only allow myself the techniques which have been used in analogue photography since 1850. Namely, making adjustments to contrast and exposure, and using superimposition.” When a special effect is needed in order to achieve a particular shot, he finds a way to achieve it manually rather than through digital manipulation, for example by using refraction (a prism) or reflectivity (a mirror). The fantastical images he produces seem impossible, but they are in fact pictures of the physical world that surrounds us at all times.
Janiak is interested in duality and the unseen forces that inhabit the space between what we perceive of as imaginative and as scientific. His work thus serves as a photographic bridge between data and creativity. In fact, he believes there is no separation between science and art—the apparent dichotomy is only a way of conceptualizing the multiple simultaneous states of being at work in the visible universe. Whether his inspiration comes from a philosophical inquiry, a spiritual question, or a revelation about the nature of physics, in the end he circles back to all three areas of thought, using one as a departure point, but in the process capturing what is beautiful about all.
About Seb Janiak, French designer Philippe Starck wrote:
“Seb has shown that the impossible can be achieved...He has done a lot (that is to say he has committed himself completely) to try to draw us into poetic spaces, with a rigour that sets him apart from his successors. Each of his images, each of his artistic gestures have an elegance and a madness which are both natural and structural. I will forever be grateful to him for this reason: how many artists can be said to bring our dreams and visions so strongly to life that they are with us every day?”
Work by Janiak is widely collected and has been exhibited globally, including at Art Basel Miami and FIAC.