It was in India, in 1992, that Akim Monet began his photographic investigation of historical treasures. Absorbing the particulars of the region, he was deeply affected by the power of the ancient temples and monuments that are still a vital part of daily life there. He used photography as a way of processing what he was feeling. Having accumulated a trove of images, he found looking at the negative strips more akin to his actual experience of the places and became obsessed with the instant when the shutter clicks open and the emulsion on the celluloid reacts to the sudden onslaught of light; with the magic that occurs at that micro-moment around 1/100th of a second when light hits the negative. The tiny images on the negative strips seemed to burn: stone was transformed into molten lava and shadow became light.
With no formal training in photography, Monet developed a process by which the final prints match the original negatives. In New York, seven years after India, he learned how to use digital printing technology to achieve glorious high-resolution prints of his negatives at a grand scale.
All the details in a scene are imprinted on a negative. Monet sees a positive print as a reproduction, and a negative as the imprint of reality, the testimony of a microsecond. He is fascinated by the manner in which negatives reveal what the eye cannot see, the complement of what the eye does see. He marvels how black is the absence of light and white the sum of all colors. He tries to see how light travels through space and hits an object: some rays are absorbed and others reflected. The latter are those that allow us to see color; it is those that affect the emulsion on the celluloid.
In India, he discovered the «space between»: that space between the Ying and the Yang, that space between the sum of all colors and its absence. He saw this space in his negatives and found a way to enlarge them in order to explore this enchanted gap. The beauty and intensity of Monet's photographs has to do with the convergence of opposites, of past and present. They stand sublimely poised in the space between.
Although Monet only decided in 2002 to publicly show his work, he has already had several solo exhibitions of which «Passage to India» in New York and Mexico City, «Homage to Gaudi» in Geneva and Belgium, and «Pergamon» in Paris.
A monograph about Monet's work was published in 2003: «The Space Between»
(New York: Infinite Point Press) isbn 0-9728647-0-9
The photographs are printed at Laumont Studios, New York City.
An American Citizen, Monet was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968. He studied comparative literature at Cornell University in New York State. He now lives and works between New York City and Umbria, Italy with Anne-Marie & Tosca.