In his photographic work, Délio Jasse often interweaves found images with clues from past lives (found passport photos, family albums) to draw links between photography and memory. Jasse is known for experimenting with analogue photographic printing processes, including cyanotype, platinum and early printing processes such as Van Dyke Brown, as well as developing his own printing techniques. Jasse has selected works from three of his series in PHOTOFAIRS PRESENTS: Cyanotype. With just 11 days left to purchase exclusive, limited edition prints. Make sure you view the online exhibition now.
Printing techniques are core to your practice, particularly cyanotype. Why does this early photographic technique appeal?
What attracts me to these alternative photographic techniques is their artisanal quality which enables me to arrive at a point that I wouldn't be able to with contemporary photographic techniques. More specifically, thanks to the versatility of these early processes, I am able to “draw “ the images, adding different elements and layers to the original photographs. The cyanotype is an easy process to use when comparing it to other processes as it only needs two components and the results are amazing, from both an aesthetic and narrative level.
The three series you’ve included in PHOTOFAIRS PRESENTS: Cyanotype are related to the city of Luanda. Tell us about the relationship between these three bodies of work.
The connection among them is the relationship with the past.
How does the cyanotype process and aesthetic align with your vision?
My images are often quite chaotic, both in terms of composition and theme, and the cyanotype makes the image a bit cleaner, a little smoother.
There’s an interesting contrast between your subject matter and your printing process. While a lot of the scenes are a clear depiction of reality (street scenes), the cyanotype method distances them from the real world to someplace more abstract. Is this theme of separation from reality intentional?
I have never thought about this in these terms but I think this really applies to my cyanotype works. I always tried to obtain a sort of detachment from the real image, from one side, I wanted to erase the chaos of Luanda, yet on the other hand I wanted to join all of the city’s different elements together. The blue effects mould things together and, erasing the original chaos gives me the chance to further analyze more complex themes which may be lost without the calming blue effect.
What is your understanding and interpretation of the special Prussian blue seen in cyanotype?
I usually work with black & white images and when I see the blue print I feel a sense of achievement, like I was able to work with the images in a way I wanted.
In the works exhibited, we see traces of image editing such as collage and coloring. Why?
I’m keen that the work is not fully centered on the cyanotype technique. Thanks to the cyanotype I explore certain themes but it is almost the starting point. The cyanotype is a tool to me. A very important tool but it is still a tool.
What has had a greater influence on your practice, street or documentary photography?
Street photography has by far had the greatest impact on me. As a self-taught photographer, going around the city with my camera reminds me of my formative years as an artist.
You also use found photographs in your work. Why?
I use old photographs because my work really revolves around the idea of the archive. Also the way I use and process these older images is linked to the archive: sometimes the archive has clear order, sometimes it’s just messy. That is exactly what I want to achieve in my works: every element of the image is disconnected from the other but at the same is really linked to every other element in the image.
Tell us what you plan to create next, will you continue working with cyanotype? Will Luanda remain your core subject matter?
I will continue to experiment with cyanotype as I want to continue to re-organize images that look at the past of Luanda. I feel this technique is vital to that process.