Manifestations of the Unseen

Seb Janiak’s work makes use only of the manifestation of unseen forces. Of course, photography is unable to see what is invisible in the way that physicists do. Nevertheless, the imaging of the manifestation of these unseen forces undergoes no digital transformation in his photographs. There are no changes made to the colors and no retouching or special effects applied to the image in post-production. Janiak only allows himself the techniques that have been used in analogue photography since 1850. Namely, making adjustments to contrast and exposure, and using superimposition. Each finished work is hence an original shot, which has been neither retouched nor modified by special effects. A source of neutral white light and its seven base colors were used on all the clichés, either directly or in reflection (photographic mapping). A light filtered through a diffraction grating was developed for the “Résonance” series, to be able to study the diffraction of light in a droplet of water.

For the “Magnetic Radiation” series, the obvious choice was the use of a ferrofluid liquid. This liquid laden with ferric nanoparticles enables us to visualize a magnetic field as it curves to follow the force lines of the magnetic field generated by powerful magnets. The set-up was designed so as to modulate the power and the spacing of several magnetic fields in parallel or in opposition, or both at the same time. Since the liquid is jet black, it is only possible to illuminate it by reflection from its environment.

This can be described in terms of a “revelation,” in the sense that the hidden realm is revealed in images. The natural aesthetic result refers back to the creation of the universe when magnetic fields generated by the Big Bang shaped matter, atom by atom to provide a structure, so that 14 million years later we have become what we are – living, thinking beings.






Seb Janiak is a French photographer and video director of Polish origin. In 2009, after an international career making music clips and working as a fashion photographer, he turned to artistic and scientific research in the field of art photography.


Published on August 4, 2020.


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