Halo is a unique specimen in Jochen Lempert’s body of work. While the artist is known for his distinctive black and white analogue photographs, for this edition he also included color. Obviously, this is a subtle, careful, and consistent shift. The photograph here is only partially hand-colored, with a pale yellow that is perfectly in tune with the nuances of the grey.
The hand-coloring of photographs dates back to the inception of photography. It was a very popular way, especially in Japan, of creating more realistic images. In Lempert’s case, on the contrary, the technique contributes to the pictorial as well as the abstract quality of the image. The yellow color outlines the geometrical perfection of the central ring that shines like a halo.
Yet, we quickly recognize a frog’s eye. The animal looks at us, in a frontal, seemingly indifferent way. So much so that, not only does the frog look at the camera, but it looks like a camera, with its central shutter. The framing and the format of the photograph emphasizes the analogy.
As we look closer, we finally recognize a human figure: that of the photographer, reflected in the frog’s pupil. While taking the picture, he waves, saying hello to the animal, the viewer, and himself all at once. The beauty and depth of Lempert’s works typically lie in such situations, in the mirroring effects between humans and their natural environment, when the distinction between nature and culture begins to fade away.