By Jesper Shen
In 1999 German photographic artist Andreas Gursky looked continuously every day for 6 months from the banks of the Rhine. He wasn’t so much curious about the factories or shipping, as he was about the more beautiful picture of the grassland and the Rhine’s tranquil water surface, prompting him to, in an era when people were still worried about Y2K, use the not-yet-advanced Photoshop, using multiple photographs and post-production, produce the seemingly ordinary, but in fact surreal and extremely large photograph Rhine II, and which sold for a record 4.33 million US dollars at auction at Christie’s. “I wasn’t particularly interested in the landscape of the Rhine, what I was interested in was the possibility that its existence might be valuable to contemporary art.”
When people speak of contemporary photography’s leading figure, Andreas Gursky, they use this perspective to explain his philosophy of the artistic life.
When you first encounter the works of Zoe Wetherall, there is an immediate association with Andreas Gursky’s extremely unusual and rigid, Germanic level of composition. Under a similar geometric sensibility, what appears in Australian Zoe Wetherall’s work has its origins more in the flowing rhythms and random feelings of the natural world. Aged 4 and gazing upon an orderly brick wall she imagined that when she grew up she would become a master bricklayer, but when she took up her father’s camera and made photographs when she was 8 years old it was love at first sight. Another time, as she was floating in a hot air balloon, she discovered the singular aesthetic feeling of a bird’s eye view from high up in the sky. The variety facilitated Zoe Wetherall’s zeal toward a geometric style of photography, using almost graphically designed ingenious compositions to link the eyes to the world, and with not totally perfectly straight lines, magnifying the details of the scenery, thereby unearthing neglected beauty amidst everyday scenery, and discovering perception within rationality.
Setting off from the 100% modern, but comparatively youthful city of Melbourne, and now living in the long lived and socially advanced metropolis of New York City, Zoe Wetherall will continue to record the world in her style, and amidst its geometric rhythms she will manifest a vitality that has not yet been unearthed from the world.
Please briefly introduce yourself.
I’m an Australian landscape and architectural photographer currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
What is the meaning of photography for you?
To me photography is a way to share how I see the world, so that everyone can see what I see.
What inspired you to be so keen on geometry?
I started photographing aerial landscapes when I had the opportunity to do a hot air balloon flight when I was on vacation many years ago. I found the perspective of looking at landscapes from above very interesting, and the natural and man made patterns and shapes stood out to me. This is when I started to develop a style to my work, and carried that look of focusing on shapes and patterns into my architecture images as well.
When you moved from Melbourne to New York City, the atmosphere of the two cities is very different. How does this affect your creation?
Melbourne has a lot newer modern architecture than New York City, which makes sense as it’s a younger city. I have to do more research in the US to find buildings I want to photograph. Also Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world where you can do hot air balloon flights over the city. Living in NYC, I have to leave the city to find more rural areas to do balloon flights to shoot.
How would you describe your own work?
My work has a clean, graphic, minimal and orderly look to it. My images do not have a horizon line, so this gives the images a focus on the texture, pattern and color of the land or building in a somewhat abstract way.
How do you choose where to shoot?
My choices of where to shoot are mostly what is available in close proximity to where I live. When I plan a vacation I often look for areas where I can create new work also. I look for areas where I can do hot air balloon flights, and I also try to find interesting buildings wherever I go.
If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?
I’m not sure what else I would do for work if I wasn’t a photographer. I very briefly considered becoming a graphic designer or architect when I was younger, but I never seriously considered doing anything else with my life.
Please provide some advice about how you would build an atmosphere of "SUMMER COOL" on Instagram.
I think bright colors suggest happiness and are associated with summer. So images with bold blocks of color, particularly cool colors like blues and greens, would be what represents Summer Cool to me.
Find the original article here: https://www.zoewetherall.com/PPaper