I just walked on by

text by Yves Kerckhoffs, published in .TIFF

When I stepped out of the old elevator and walked out the door of my apartment
building my eyes had to adjust to the harsh light illuminating my surroundings. I
noticed the streets were oddly silent and empty today. Thinking about whether or not
to buy a coffee on my way to work I almost bumped into the trashcan on the corner
of the street and dropped my wallet. I got down on my knees to pick it up, but while
getting back up time suddenly stopped. Not being able to move, my body was
trapped in this movement, partly hiding behind the trashcan, my hand with the wallet
still in the air sticking out and my sight strangely obstructed by this one lower hanging
branch of a tree.

Decent, but merciless, Laura Van Severen abstracts or changes the chosen
environment into rock solid compositions that embody (new) worlds on their own.
These new worlds only slightly differ from the ones they originated from. Her subjects
themselves remain untouched and unaware of the transition they are undergoing. It
is Van Severen’s choice of point of view and sometimes uncanny moment of creating
the image that pushes the situation into something detached or graphic. Hereby
movement is an important factor in her approach to photography, in the subjects she
photographs as well as in the way she approaches the world visually. By walking or
driving different layers of the landscape or space merge into each other, or appear in
front of or disappear behind each other. In this process the specific place seems to
be of less importance, rather the coincidence of details that come together in a
specific way on a specific time provide in the possibility of creating her images. Van
Severen searches for these coincidences, finds them and embraces them. In this
sense she is uncoupled of the world she is photographing, she’s not part of it. But it’s
only therefore that she is able to distill the frames and moments in this world,
everybody else would just walk on by.