VUJÀ DÉ | THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Simon de Haast

Opens at 6pm on Thursday the 7th of April and runs to the 31st of May 2022


Comedian George Carlin coined the term “vuja de” to mean the opposite of the French idiom “déjà vu”. It describes experiencing something familiar as if it is strange and new.


Simon’s photography is of everyday objects where he plays with motion, curiosity, spontaneity, light, and colour capturing them in a way that triggers an exploration of one’s own story; seeing the familiar in new ways, also capturing these objects using pixels, computational photography, and rule-breaking.


Another way to describe his work is as a photographic version of found object art.


“I draw inspiration from Colour Field artists such as Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, and of course Mark Rothko, to produce large format archival prints”.



About the Style and Method

Innovation is partly driven by figuring out how to break the rules and escape the conventional way of doing things. Artists have been doing this for centuries.


So too with Simon’s photography, he challenges the rule of keeping the camera still during long exposures. Instead, he moves the camera or object to allow the pixels to paint themselves. Keeping the lens attached to the camera body is another rule that he breaks; freelensing is a technique of detaching the lens and holding it just in front of the mount. It’s also a great way to keep the sensor dust cleaning services in business.


“Each image has a backstory to how I 'saw' it, and very little post-processing is performed. What appears here is as the sensor recorded it.”



About the Artist

Simon de Haast has been using a camera in one form or another for over 40 years, including shooting rock bands for Rolling Stone SA magazine. So don’t be surprised to see rock band references riff through some of his images.


“I am completely self-taught, from working with fixer in the darkroom to understanding composition and exposure”.


Simon believes in the idea of a portfolio life, and other work that he does is in the innovation space for an ad agency where he helps clients with vujà dé — seeing old things in new ways.


“So it is natural that this creative heartbeat finds itself in my photography, a place that I’ve always felt is my artistic home and allows me to combine art and technology.”


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