Emmanuel Knibbe Lailly, France


Emmanüel Knibbe has a generous soul and that makes him a particularly sensitive and remarkable artist. He is profoundly human, a quality rare enough in the artistic world to deserve mentioning here.

Emmanüel Knibbe is an artist with a gift for observation, as well as a capacity to transcend modern technologies , but also modest enough to remain constantly in touch with the realities of life. That is why his work, in its demure way, is probably not quite as abstract as it might appear at first sight.

Emmanüel Knibbe’s photographs carry you away with a delicate generosity towards an unknown universe where the soul can find some beneficial rest. You may or may not accept to be carried away; Emmanüel Knibbe does not impose anything, he suggests. That makes his work so powerful.

This new series “The Underwater Song” is one more perfect example.

        –  Cyril Berthault-Jacquier & Françoise Jacquier, Brussels, July 2014.


Emmanuel Knibbe


Emmanuel Knibbe was chosen by photographer Samuel Poromaa.



Laatikkomo’s interview with Emmanuel Knibbe July 3rd, 2014.


L:   Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?

EK:  France. I’ve spent my childhood in the country until I entered university.

I then left to study in Dijon and Paris and I’m living now in a small village in Burgundy.

I would say both but for different reasons.

Those places influenced me for sure, first the isolated place where I lived until I was 18.

The countryside inspires me for its big spaces and its quietness.

It was a great experience of leaving and discovering by my own, an incomparable contact with nature and solitude.

The big cities inspired me for their shapes, movements and people evolving inside it.

In fact, to me there are interesting things everywhere for who knows how to look, after it depends mostly of what are we looking for.

I’m very interested in details and things we usually don’t see.

That’s also why I love macro and abstract photography so much.

Not that I wouldn’t be interesting in journalism or documentaries, but that’s not what I’m looking for when I want to make art.

I’m trying to express something that is inside or hidden, giving an idea about feelings or dreams as well as telling stories.

Beauty only exists in the eyes of who have seen it.

For example, I’ve shot all the pictures of this series in my kitchen.

When you look at the place it was taken, there is really nothing, it’s only light and its reflection on wet glass and windows.

But more than the places, Life, Music, Arts, and Literature are others big sources of inspiration.


L:   What is your earliest memory of photography?

EK:  I’ve never really had my own camera until really lately.

My first one was a Kodac “Instamatic”, a really basic one.

I was then a teen and I remember I already enjoyed to play with lights, colours and reflections.

Unfortunately the camera was really limited (no zoom or possible settings) and I haven’t got the budget to experiment any further.

But I’ve always dreamt my eyes could be a camera.

Before expressing myself with a camera I used to draw or paint and later on to write.

In fact, I’ve started photography really late, around 8 years ago, when I’ve bought my first digital camera.

It was the perfect tool to learn by myself and experiment without limits.

Today I love to use as well digital or analogue as well as toy camera.


L:   You are photographing details from normal, everyday sightings on the street. Street-photography is one popular term used today to describe everyday sightings on the street. Would you call your work Street-photography? How do you see your work?

EK:  I love to explore and experiment and there are so many things to catch in the everyday sightings on the street. I could say I’ve sometimes made Street-Photography.

On the other hand, I mostly work on what we can call “Abstract or Surreal” photography, just to give it a name, I don’t like categories.

“Poetic Photography” could be a possible definition too because I love to tell stories.

I always try to photograph a window, an open gate, but with the consciousness and the conviction that is truly impossible.

It will always be a mirror in the sense that everything is subjective.

“The same tree will always appears differently to a fool than a wise man”

We all see things differently because we see them with our own emotions, perceptions, feelings and sensations, and our life who nobody else can live for us.

That’s also what is so interesting in Photography and all Arts, maybe even more in Abstract Art.

There will always be a plurality of possible interpretations.


L:   Your images are framed in a way that pushes the realistic into the realm of the abstract. What are your motives for how you choose to frame your images?

EK:  As a painter in front of a white canvas, as a photographer I’ve to compose with the realm of the sightings or surroundings.

Using the reality as a base instead of making a scan of it.

The goal is to find something new or different, to purpose another vision.

Isn’t it the role of an artist to open doors, to underline something sometimes we have missed? To make us think, dream? To create?

Trying to bring something to it, showing a particular angle, enlightened a new side, or hiding a part of it, if it could help too.

I don’t remember from which famous artist are the quote who said something like this :

“Perfection is not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is no more to take out.”

Trying to bring something new to photography, to create with photography even “against” it.

Somehow, I think, I’m searching to paint with a camera.

Regarding the shape, I love square.

The square shape is pure and strong, regular and balance.

It’s for me a quite perfect shape.

It reduces the vision’s field and brings us directly into to the core of things.


L:   Many of your photographs seem to be playing with depth or with different planes within an image. What kind of process goes into making your images?

EK:  I love to play a lot with Anamorphosis and reflections, double exposure, macro, even sometimes movements.

If I use Photoshop, and I always do, it is to crop my image and make polyptychs, I also use texture but most rarely and I adjust then if needed only levels, brightness and contrast.


L:   You are now the 6th artist in the Laatikkomo link 1. The first artist in link 1 was interested in the relationship between photography and memory. Are you interested in the distortion or preservation of memory through photography?

EK:  I would say both.

As we know from the latest psychology studies, memory is really selective and makes us forget things we would love to keep or on the other hand keep things we would love to forget.

It’s intimately linked to our life and emotions.

If we want to give an objective vision of memory through photography distortion might be a more objective view of it.

But this for the case we try to illustrate what memory is not the memory of what it is.

To look at pictures of the past will always help to keep the memory in case we’ve forgotten something.


L:   Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?

 EK:  Under the Sea, microcosmos, subaquatic life, emptiness, deepness, lights, silence, dreamscape


 Thank you very much Emmauel!