Through the Looking Glass of Axel Ruhomaully
by Waleed Thug & Teesha Kooraram
Focus on Axel Ruhomaully
Space exploration is not the first thing which comes to mind when one talks about art, nor does Che Guevara’s bike for that matter. However, Axel Ruhomaully shows us otherwise in his most recent exhibition, Synchronicity II, where he gathers a carefully curated collection of his works. Originating from Mauritius, Axel Ruhomaully studied photography in Paris in 1999, during which he developed his unique photography style, akin to Chiaroscuro, which he has adequately titled as Light Stencilling by which he emphasises and moulds the shape of his subject through the use of negative spaces. He has since then been working in close collaboration with museums worldwide to produce his art photographs.
Axel is an artist-photographer by profession, although some might consider him to be more of an explorer and story-teller than anything else. He has recently been nominated as an Ambassador for Canson Infinity in January 2020. Through Synchronicity II, he showcases an array of different works such as photographs of the Vostok 5 shuttle which he was the sole person besides the Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics personnel to be granted access to, along with those of the dry docks and granary of Port-Louis in Mauritius amongst others.
Our wandering explorer lets us in on a few exclusive insights of his work process and photoshoot sessions at unique locations or with uncustomary objects of history. He confides to us that his works can take between 3 to 8 hours to create. Our photophile readers may be interested in knowing that Axel uses exclusively 50mm lenses which he says offers the best compromise between staying true to the human peripheral vision without causing deformations to the object. Additionally, he uses light from an angle to accentuates certain traits of his subject and under-exposes the latter, thus creating a black background (which is among the key feature of his style aside from a strong element of symmetry).
Axel Ruhomaully’s creations eloquently relate a unique story of human history’s evolution through the ages and addresses topics of science, cosmonautics, history, culture, and artistic heritage.
Vostok 5 Space Shuttle: the making
Vostok 5 space shuttle
Synchronicity at Play
Perhaps the most emotionally charged picture he captures and exhibits in Synchronicity II is in the abandoned granary of Port-Louis; a chair, left in the middle of a dilapidated architecture, suggesting to the mind the thought of a being longing in contemplation for an audience to listen to its story.
"To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hands, and eternity in an hour"
- William Blake
These few lines taken from the poem Auguries of Innocence further illustrates Axel’s unique take on the world he lives in; through his artistic talent, he enables his audiences to wander from story to story in a way where time becomes irrelevant, leaving behind a trail of awe and inspiration for those who are willing to take the dive into his creations.