Out of the Darkness: From rage and terror, to survival and resilience


The number of dead is irrelevant. Mass violence stems from the misguided belief that random killing and the fear felt by the innocent will rectify a perceived injustice. Motivations for these acts come from a range of beliefs: political, racial, or gender-based terrorism, or random acts of violence due to mental instability. Toronto-based photo artist Thomas Brasch commemorates resiliency by photographing locations that have been bombarded by violence for his Out of the Darkness series. He says, “I take photographs of notable architectural landmarks, found at the affected sites, to create a jewel-like abstraction as a testimony to survival from the darkness. I wanted to show that despite the abhorrent tragedy and irrecoverable loss of human life, resilience and survival can glow from the chaos of rage and terror.” Since 2015, Thomas has been developing and refining his technique. His process includes scouting and researching sites of violence and finding appropriate architecture to symbolize the city site.

Each final image comes from photographing multiple angles on location with his Canon 6D DSLR camera. After editing to find the best capture and architectural detail, a single frame is manipulated in Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, and Photoshop. Multiple layers are manipulated, there is no set formula, and experimentation is key. However, it is important to keep enough of the detail so that upon close inspection, the viewer can see details such as windows and doorways. The actual time spent at the computer averages around 12 hours per piece. Nothing is ever done in one sitting. Sometimes hours of work will result in an abandoned project and other times the digital alchemy happens. The final works are printed 40 × 40 inches on high gloss aluminum sheets so that the blacks are solid and the other colours can glow in the reflected light. Thomas intends for viewers to see their reflection as part of the piece. Following two successful exhibitions of his “Vegas,” “Montréal,” and “Barcelona” triptych in Vancouver at the Capture Photography Festival 2018 and in Toronto at the Contact Photography Festival 2018, Thomas is looking forward to sharing his work in group and solo shows in private and public galleries. His long-range plans include exhibitions in the United States and in Europe. Online, Thomas provides viewers a further experience, to augment his aim of transforming the image from a reference to a historical event to a memorial present in our hearts and minds. He notes his personal connection to each location in text and in an audio soundtrack. Here, he reads the long lists of names of those who perished in the event. In this series, each “jewel-like” image represents each city he has visited. Future travel plans include trips within North and South America, including Mexico City and Lima, and ventures to the Middle East and the Eastern Hemisphere. Thomas says, “I have plans to make this a global project. I’m looking to honour the victims of incidents of mass meaningless violence at the hands of mankind.”



PhotoED Magazine featured Thomas Brasch's story in print in our SOLD OUT - FALL 2018 issue, 'CANADIANS ABROAD'. You can now get this issue DIGITALLY DELIVERED HERE.

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Follow Thomas' ongoing work: thomasbrasch.com

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