Various photo researches and a video clip
Patterns of Lightness
Sami Benhadj, a member of Körner Union, has already made a name for himself internationally in the world of photography. His clients include the 'New York Times Magazine', 'Wallpaper', 'Wire Magazine', 'Le Monde' and Vitra. His works have been presented in many exhibitions both in Switzerland and abroad.
Sami Benhadj receives this award for a series of commissioned photographs created in the past two years and for the 'souvenir de chine' music video produced for the band Larytta, which is also part of this series. All the works demonstrate Benhadj's interest in presenting objects in a new and experimental way. The mirror plays an important role as a compositional tool. Doubled, multiplied, mirrored on an axis: objects turn into brightly coloured kaleidoscopic patterns.
In the work commissioned for the magazine 'Another Man', ties, wallets, shoes and belts are mirrored on an axis, seemingly freed from the forces of gravity, to create a geometric pattern. The mirroring effect is taken still further in the photographs for the Swiss Federal Design Grants 2007 catalogue. Here, the award-winning designs are photographed fourfold from above, from a custom-built scaffolding, and then combined to create a single image. Only on closer inspection does one notice tiny variations in detail, indicating that each individual piece was manually positioned on the ground four times. In the age of Photoshop, such a time-consuming procedure is remarkable.
The music video shows various creatures – mice, canaries, chickens – rushing towards a mirrored corner, only to discover that there is no way out. This riotous arrangement of animals to the rhythmic beat of the music creates a fascinating configuration of symmetric movement.
The often complex and time-consuming installations that underlie the compositions are not visible in the photographs. As Sami Benhadj notes, it is first and foremost a question of focusing all attention on the object itself and allowing a certain ambiguity to leave its mark on the image. By enlisting minimal but carefully deliberated means to compose his pictures, he succeeds in creating strong and compelling images, enriching contemporary object photography with fresh and innovative approaches and remarkable ideas.