Between Artistic Photography and Straight Photography by Arif Bagus Prasetyo, 2012

January Tyniec describes his photographs as follows:

In my works I have been avoiding storytelling and references of scale and time in order to unravel meaning. I remain most interested in exploring the relationships between culture and nature, or document (the perception of the real) and artifice (the deception of reality).

Photography allows me to create the most straightforward, yet highly personal images of water, sky, land, the lotus flower or a person within the context of landscape, beliefs and most importantly myth.

My work process is very emotional and often challenging as I aim to establish a most intimate relationship and understanding of the subject.

The notions of “avoiding storytelling” and “to create the most straightforward images” relate Tyniec’s works with “straight photography”. Like Paul Strand’s works of “straight photography” or Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s works of “New Seeing” photography, Tyniec’s photographs is the product of direct photography par excellence that exploited contrast and gradations of light and dark. Just like Strand’s works, Tyniec’s works relied on the photographer’s sensitivity to maintain a balance between realistic-documentary closeness and formal-aesthetic finesse.

Unlike “straight photography”, however, Tyniec’s photographs did not seem to rely on abstract composition and sharp focus. The subjects of his pictures are fairly identifiable, and they are shown by emphasizing their hazy, unremarkable, details – a significant feature of “artistic photography” as exemplified in Alfred Stieglitz’s and Edward Steichen’s photographs. In this respect Tyniec, with his photographs that look like paintings, is the successor of Stieglitz who states that “Photography being in the main a process in monochrome, it is on subtle gradations in tone and value that its artistic beauty so frequently depends.”

Arif Bagus Prasetyo PHOTOGRAPHY: ART INFINITUM January 2012
Arif Bagus Prasetyo is a curator, alumnus of the IWP University of Iowa, USA.