Ode to the Burnout

Burnt and charred flowers as a symbol of life with a burnout

By: THURSD. | 04-11-2020 | 4 min read

In Search for a New Truth

The search for a new truth in a challenging time captures the essence of the body of work by photographer Martin Sweers. The perspectives we have on how things should be in our daily lives feel like our truth. But what happens when something shifts, this truth might change rapidly? Ode to the Burnout

Error in Truth

Photographer Martin Sweers publishes the coffee table book Error in Truth with charred flowers as a symbol for inner growth. His photobook Error in Truth will be released on 9 December. A project by Martin Sweers, in which burnt and charred flowers are used as a symbol of life with a burnout.

Suffering from Burnout

As a photographer for international magazines such as Harper's Bazaar Turkey, Elle Germany, Vogue Portugal, Grazia Netherlands, Elegance, and &C, Martin Sweers is an established name in the fashion world. In 2016 he suffered from burnout. He struggled with fears and nervousness and developed into a hypochondriac. To regain control of his life, Sweers went into the photo studio for a personal project. He came up with the idea of ​​taking something beautiful and pure, and destroying it. But in such a way that the shape would be preserved. He decided to char flowers and record the result. Ode to the Burnout

Learning from Discovery Channel

"When I started this whole venture of the project I didn't know what I was creating yet. But one evening I remembered an episode on the Discovery Channel where they showed the process of charing. You take some wood, stick it in a container with a small hole in it and you put heath around the container. The container is there to keep the oxygen out so you don't burn but char your material."
Ode to the Burnout

The Process of Charring

Placing the flowers in an airtight container and heating the outside creates a process of charring. By timing this as precisely as possible, the flower remains intact as much as possible after combustion. During this process, a number of rational questions are asked by the photographer: when is the fire too hot or too cold? Which container works best? How long should the flowers be kept in the fire? How long do they have to cool before the container can be opened and the additional oxygen still does not develop a flame, which will destroy the object? Martin experiences the entire process of burning, collecting, photographing, contemplation, and repetition as a mantra, which leads to the development of his intuition. By spending so much time with the flowers and taking care of them so delicately, he begins to see new truth. That the lows in your life might as well be a gift because you can only grow from there.

Evoking Memories of Uncertainty

Each photo represents a specific part of the photographer's personal story and the challenges he has faced. Martin Sweers:
"At the beginning of this project, my style is very sleek, precise, simple, and aesthetically correct. Almost like an old botanical textbook. But later on, once I realize I have a story to tell if I dare to dig deeper, my style gets more experimental. In this, I play more with light, movement, and repetition with the aim of evoking memories of uncertainty, pressure, necessity, and confusion." The pictures represent awareness, overcoming your fears, and the focus on love.
Martin: "My intuition became the driving force behind this project. This allowed me to stay away from self-doubt and misconceptions about my own truth not only in my work but also in my daily life."

The Artist's Story in 100 Images

The complete series of about 100 images captures flowers and plants that are carefully burned and turned to carbon. Every picture in Error in Truth stands for a specific part of the artist's story. In a way, the flowers resemble the challenges the artist needed to deal with. To spend a lot of time with them and to care for them so delicately he learned to see new truth. That the lows of your life could be a gift to grow and appreciate the effects they can bring. Pre-order the book before the 10th of November for a reduced price, get mentioned in the book as a backer, and receive it before Christmas. Also, the artist will sign the book for you. Ode to the Burnout    Ode to the Burnout

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