Ruud van Empel was bang on the money with the title for his current Museum of Photographic Art exhibition: ‘Strange Beauty’. The photo-realistic work is a combination of photography, collage and digital enhancement. If that sounds like a standard issue fashion mag, it’s because there are certainly similarities in application.
The constructed images mirror the ‘idealised’ perception that we place on the childhood experience. Each character has been ‘manga-ered’ for maximum impact, with gigantic saucer eyes and highly saturated skin tones. The foliage backdrops appears to symbolise an organic sense of freedom that is the nature of childhood.
The end result is a fetishizing homage to childhood innocence, which ironically may feel slightly uneasy through the eyes of an adult.