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Joris Van Daele,  photographer and artist

Internationally published Canadian photographer Joris Van Daele specializes in black and white nude portraits and figure studies. With a creative approach that is honest and fresh, Mr. Van Daele's photographs feature strong imagery, perfect technique and a delicate approach.


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Artist's Statement

"Black and white are absolute. They express the most delicate vibration, the most profound tranquility, and unlimited profundity." (Shiko Munakata)

Much as music can express abstract ideas, or poetry can take familiar words and breathe new life and meaning into them, photography is an opportunity to communicate ideas that don't fit into any other language. I love and embrace the joy and beauty of all of humanity in my work. My photographs are a combination of emotion, philosophy, spirituality, sensation, subconscious thought, desire. Sometimes I feel like my works are daydreams made real, expressions of all the thoughts, wishes, dreams and emotions that constantly course through my mind. Why nude? This is the vulnerable self, the self most of us are dissatisfied with. Coming to terms with the naked self means an important kind of self acceptance, as reflection of external standards and a chance to drop the many layers we build to hide and protect the private self.

When I photograph people for my art, I pick subjects that are easy to work with; I find women generally more comfortable than men with being photographed. I usually take the person out of the studio into a more interesting and less contrived location, like an old mansion or natural outdoor setting, as it adds extra depth and context to the image's structure and helps the subject relax. I prefer using a hand held camera whenever possible. After developing my film, I edit my own work ruthlessly, and only print a small percentage of what I photograph. For me, fine printing is the completion of the alchemy of photography; I immerse myself in this... playing with all the elements involved in a print as much as I can. I enjoy using the best quality, heavy silver based paper--I love the velvety blacks and the creamy highlights I can produce with them. Alternatively, I have been experimenting with the spectacular Piezotone® process used with fine art papers. This latter is a new proprietary digital process which when done correctly, looks a lot like platinum printing with a very wide tonal scale, deep blacks, lovely undertones and superior longevity. For me, good work with traditional or the latest methods on great papers convey the qualities of skin and the sensuousness of the subject--tones are deep and velvety, skin has a tactile quality, and these prints can provoke with the aesthetic qualities they have.

My recent work has explored deeper into who the subject is inside, as I search for more substance and complexity of their exteriors. Media often portrays men and women stereotyped in age, physical appearance, race, style, in a set fashion of the day with little regard to whom they are depicting. It’s as if the person has become a common object, like a couch or table destined for a catalog image, to be posed, ignoring the individual. Current photo styles are applied to everyone, and as a result, the subject’s individual characteristics are minimized by this generalized visual treatment. There is no recognition that the subject is an individual, with personal aspects that need to be revealed. By employing set styles of photography, the individual strengths and beauty of any particular subject is ignored, and depersonalization and objectification occurs. If the person is not deemed as attractive in the final photograph, we may believe that this subject is not as attractive as some. We can reason that this is true, by pointing out other photographs made in the same style where the other person portrayed seems really attractive. But on deeper analysis, one person may seem more attractive than another simply because the treatment they received accentuates features similar to the beliefs about beauty that we expect, particularly in the framework of the style or fashion that it was presented in. It’s part of Naomi Wolfe’s beauty myth. We believe the photograph but what it shown isn’t real. Those that are not very young, skinny, white or of perfect colour, of the body type in vogue, etc., will never reveal their beauty with this standard treatment.

I welcome these subjects for my work--I know that there is much beauty in all of them. My work affirms that photography is an important tool to share the beauty that is within everyone. This beauty is not the stereotypical view as is in those images we all see--my work explores the individual with the belief and forethought that all of us have loveliness to reveal and have views and angles which are hidden by our personalities and own beliefs and need revealing. Mine is a gentle, forgiving, and exploring eye, as I expose these often unrevealed aspects of my subject. I smile inside when people tell me that I use really beautiful models–I know that the majority of my subjects would never receive a second glance if you saw them on the street or at your workplace.


Photo of recent show
Solo show in London Gallery

Photographer Joris Van Daele's pictures are referred to as “good contemporary work” by About.com (2006) and “high quality art nudes” by Janes Guide.com (2005). Sensitive and versatile, Mr. Van Daele produces images that are sought after by galleries and collectors.

Mr. Van Daele’s work was featured recently in the Carrie Leigh’s “Nude,” Winter 2009, Fall 2008; Best of Black and White: Erotic Photography, 2006 (edited by Peter Delius and Jacek Slaski, publisher: Bucher, Germany); “PhotoArt,” May 2006 (Czech Republic); “ARTphotoAKT,” May 2006 (Germany); the widely distributed Snoecks 2005 Annual, Belgium/Netherlands; “Naked,” 2004 (project coordination by Lars Oscenda, publisher: Feierabend, Germany); “Not Only Black+White,” Issue 68, September 2003 (Australia); Cathy Joseph’s Outdoor Lighting: Nudes, 2003 (AVA Publishing), StillZeit, August 2002 (Germany), and James Luciana’s Black and White Photography: Manifest Visions, An International Collection, 2000 (USA). Hundreds of web E-Zines, blogs and sites feature his works. Van Daele has exhibited in galleries in Europe, New York, L.A., Toronto and London.

Recent Shows and Publications



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