I discovered Photomorphosis way back in 1972 while attempting to copy an illustrated article in the Times magazine article on Yves Tanguy on an office copy machine. At night, in the dark. A clandestine maneuver. Photomorphosis is the enchanting process by which an organism changes or experiences metamorphosis under the influence of light… It is a natural process in the realm of photosynthesis, photolysis, etc., indicating the importance of light on living things, akin to shedding light on the darker areas of the mind…
As an external organic process entering another level of meaning, it became an internal manifestation of an evolving morphology of the psyche. Under the sway of obsessive desire, I combined the words photograph and metamorphosis to signify the photomorphic process, without realizing that such a word already existed.
But, further research revealed that photomorphosis was no longer used by the scientific community to denote the organic process of light-induced metamorphosis and had been replaced by photomorphogenesis. Thus, by my investigation, I have given a new meaning to the abandoned word ‘photomorphosis’… by surrealizing it. To paraphrase André Breton: photomorphosis has been given to me to make surrealist use of it. The sustained investigation of the imagination is raised to the level of delirious curiosity, by the introduction of the activity of looking inward to discover, or in effect, to shed light on, the darker areas of the mind. To illuminate becomes a perfect analogy for the photomorphic process… The depths of the imagination open, the fields widen, things become visible… and metamorphosis is inevitable.
I drew pictures of strange animals as a kid, tried painting as a teen, and didn’t like the smell of the oils. I did nothing really, until about 19 years old after finding an anthology of French poets… That started my writing – loved surrealist poetry. Poets like Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Eluard. But mainly Andre Breton. He was the most interesting and inventive of them all really. Extremely magical. These days, or more recently, Rene Char (but mainly during his surrealist beginnings). I really like Jacques Dupin (who toyed with surrealism but became even more interested in the realm of language.) I am inspired mainly by Breton’s vantage point in the mind.
Having abandoned the copy machine at the end of 1999, I discovered that I could do the same thing on the computer and more, using Photoshop, in color, and with more tools…
Most everything inspires my work. All of which are very much similar to collage. Both visual and textural. A deep synthesis between my writing and my visual works. How I work these days, well, it all stems from my own real-life experiences. However automatic and mostly strange, it’s not art, really, but a further investigation of the psyche… between the real and the imaginary.
Many years ago, I actually did hear and experience that voice of pure automatism. It startled me completely. I think, once you actually hear and listen to it, it opens a door a little, which stays open, and whenever I feel the urge to write or make imagery, it just comes out. It is believed that one is always dreaming, it’s just under the layer of normal perception of reality. One just stumbles upon it accidentally and feels an inkling, a glimmer of something out of that persistent dream. Like a Deja Vu experience.
There are vast differences today between the different countries and their systems of belief with regard to surrealism; not to mention the differences in approach between various groups of surrealism. All this eventually led to the founding of La Belle Inutile and the 6 or so people who had problems with modern surrealism, academia, social groups, etc. Problems to be solved.
written by J Karl Bogartte
J. Karl Bogartte, born September 8, 1944, of Dutch and Irish descent, is both an artist and poet, schooled in anthropology, photography and various esoteric traditions. He has been an active participant in international surrealism for more than 50 years, and cofounder of La Belle Inutile Éditions. He presently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bogartte, is both an artist and poet, having published eight books of poetic writings: The Mirror held Up In Darkness, The Wolf House, Secret Games, Luminous Weapons, Primal Numbers, A Curious Night For A Double Eclipse, Auré, The Spindle’s Arc, and Antibodies: A Surrealist Novella. Long aligned with international surrealism, Bogartte is also a cofounder of
La Belle Inutile Éditions. His work has appeared in the following anthologies: ANALOGON#65, Melpomene, Hydrolith #1 and #2, La vertèbre et le rossignol #4, Peculiar Mormyrid #2, Paraphilia, Silver Pinion and The Fiend online journal.