After a career of more than 25 years in the textile sector, Didier Engels decided to move into the field of artistic photography. His passion for ports and their surroundings has led him to give photographic expression to that world, while retaining his eye for material that is a legacy of his textile background.
After an initial, successful exhibition, Didier began to turn his focus to exploring docks throughout Europe to capture their visual distinctiveness.
Cargo hulls and containers are the focal point of his attention, and he trains his camera mainly on these subjects. His work has been exhibited to great acclaim at art fairs and galleries that represent him in Europe and the United States.
One of the main features of his work on quays and containers is to divert visuals that are essentially graphic and coloured, in order to give them a more artistic dimension. He does this by removing all peripheral elements other than the subject itself.
The ‘diversion’, or particular framing of the containers in post-production, enhances the existing graphic design and positions the subject as the main element.The eye will be drawn first by the colours, the alignments and the graphic nature of the image. It is only afterwards that the eye will perceive the underlying element, namely, the container or boat hull.
His work extends, during his exhibitions, into discussions with the visitors and the chance to explain the before and after of his photos. His chief interest is in the materials, patinas, alignments, colors, reflections and above all the graphic and geometric aspects of the world of quays.
Such graphic captures are a veritable addiction for Didier, who has other themes in development for the future, even though the subject of ports is still far from exhausted.
This is a principle that returns time and again in his work, particularly in his aerial shots and close-ups of boat hulls: he starts out with a concrete visual, only to move it towards a more abstract image.