Robin Vandenabeele was born in Bruges, Belgium on 27 september 1977.
As a child he had a great interest in graphic arts in all forms. In his teenage years this resulted in applying for a graphic design school program, which was unfortunately never completed..
After feeling let down by the tradition schooling system and eager to stand on his own legs and taste the world he dropped out of school at the age of 18 and started working as a stagehand, assisting in the montage of tents, stages, shows, festivals, etc..
This path lead to various functions in the entertainment industry and a lot of contacts were made that would lead to other opportunities later in life.
After a few years as a stagehand Robin became a staging supervisor for a Belgian company, StageCo, and has since been employed by artists such as The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Béyoncé, Robbie Williams, Muse, Coldplay, Johnny Halliday, Elton John, Take That and many more on large international tours to build their performing platforms.
It was during one of these tours that the desire to visualy document his surroundings and adventures made him buy a Pentax film camera. This camera followed Robin everywhere and took many a beating but never failed to produce the most remarkable images. A lot of experiments were carried out, just to push the technical limits of the films and find out what happened to the resulting images. Using expired slide film that would be cross-processed (E6 film developped in E-41 chemicals) to produce stunning colours and heightened contrast would be one of these manipulations, using extremely high speed film or un unusual shutter times would be another..
One of those experiments, a double exposure with a rotation inbetween captures, made with a plastic Holga toy camera, caught his interest because of the promise of immense graphic possibilities.
Most of the energy dedicated to his photography has since been channeled into this experiment that is slowly but surely is starting to make up the bulk of his photographic archive.
Robin still works as a entertainment rigger and stage builder, but is steadily working towards adding freelance photography to that mix.
Robin Vandenabeele creates handheld double exposure photographs of architecture and landscapes with film and digital cameras. His photographic work is highly graphic and abstract and often manages to engage and surprise the viewer as it appears to show new interpretations of the reality around us.
The familiarity of the scenes combined with the surreal intervention provided by the multiple exposure technique offers a unique new take on common themes. The juxtaposition refreshes and gives new life to the landscapes or urban vistas that we often have become so oblivious to in daily life.
The photographer attempts to offer a new way of seeing the world around us by blending reality’s lines and forms into a parallel photographic universe. He explores our relation with space and the perception of our surroundings by rewriting classical subjects as intricate optical illusions that would not be out of place in one of M.C. Escher's drawings.
Every artwork is made by overlapping two consecutive exposures in the camera. Two consecutive exposures are made with a 180° rotation of the camera in between shutter releases and are carefully aligned by hand. The resulting images show where the overlapping highlights blow out the darker parts of the image, creating graphic shapes and morphing architecture and landscapes into new versions of themselves, giving them the ability to float in the process.
Carefully choosing, aligning and overlapping these areas of light and dark is crucial and is what ultimately defines the final appearance of the artworks.