Bethany de Forest (1966) graduated in photography at the Utrecht Art Academy.. In a very early stage she created table top models she also photographed. With an ordinary camera the images were too distant. She wanted to create the feeling that she could walk through her own made up worlds. Pinhole photography made this possible.
Her dreamworlds are not always peaceful. The presence of unexpected elements create contrast and confront the viewer with her or his own prejudices. A giant bug can become a beautiful creature while a small harmless fish becomes a giant monster. A seemingly peaceful world can be bewitched by an immense feeling of emptiness.
Her inspiration usually starts with a small bug or a certain material that draws her attention. From that, an idea emerges with elements of a fairytale. Bethany gives herself and other people the opportunity to become participant in this fairytale. Still none of her photographs depict an existing story. The images come directly from her imagination.
Bethany creates her models from unusual materials like candle grease, candy, sugar cubes, cotton wool, and meat. By giving the viewer the possibility to look at her worlds up close a different reality is created. Lifeless materials come to life and living creatures form static still lives.
To make a pinhole a pinhole camera is needed. Basically this is a camera without a lens but with a tiny hole to let the light in. Through this pinhole the image is directly transferred onto the film inside the camera. Exposure times are very long in comparison with ordinary cameras.
Sometimes it takes ten minutes to take a picture of one of her own built models. In broad daylight it usually takes a few seconds. This technique gives very lively and remarkable results and offers, as Bethany shows, endless possibilities.