THE POETIC LENS of Jacob Gils
As a teenager I fell in love with trees. When my beloved Step-father read Joyce Kilmer’s impeccable lyric of the poem, TREES, to me, it gave words to something I always felt deep within my heart, and these words helped to shape my profound appreciation of trees at a new depth which endures to this moment. Jacob Gils' stunning images add a breathtaking dimension to what I have loved most of my life.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is press
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
At first glance, the photographs of Jacob Gils appear unfocused and shaken. The award winning Danish artist has a passion for how to push the boundaries of his art. His textural and intense images are best described as “photographical impressionistic.”
His motifs are simple and subdued. He is a true master of technique and composition, balancing reality and dreams. As he pushes the boundaries of photography, what results is a new potential of the art. The challenges Gils experiences, both with his technique and his creativity are what motivate him.
As Gils approached his seventh year he received his very first basic camera. As he approached his tenth year he was given his first SLR camera and this was the beginning of his love affair with photography.
A friend of his father’s was his early instructor and as he learned he kept wanting to know more. He enrolled in evening courses at The Copenhagen School of Photography where he could study more seriously. He was greatly inspired by the impressionists, particularly Cezanne and Monet, and also Danish Hammershoej.
Photography gives a modern expression even if it is over 175 years since the first one was exposed. I have never felt that one is better than the other, photography versus painting. It’s actually just two ways to express yourself creatively. And, I can’t paint…though both my parents are professional painters. My mother thinks that I make portraits of trees. And maybe I do. I make more a mood than a very concrete expression. I often come back to the same tree again and again. It need not be a very old or very perfect tree, it just has to have personality (If a tree can have that!).”
The language of Jacob Gils’ art is created to make one reflect on life’s bigger images. He invites in the imagination of the viewer and allows them to create their own stories based on their personal experience. Gils work is a progressive inquiry speaking of the split between our inner experience and our external world…the objective and the subjective. He photographs as an expression of the beauty inspiring him. He questions the reality of what “is” showing us something easily recognizable with yet a newness.
Gils’ images connect technique and narration. He "pushes the focus away creating a more expansive visual vocabulary where the energy within the chosen object or the site is emphasized. The layering of frames allows him to accentuate a notion of the specific motive photographed…the less known and the very well known.” Gils is telling a new story! An exciting new project will be for him to shoot a series of portraits with a new camera he is currently testing.
When Gils receives letters from people he doesn’t know of the inspiration his photographs provide them, he is proud. His has gained recognition and he has earned several prestigious awards. His dreams for the future include exhibits in New York and London.
Joyce Kilmer writes, “Only God can make a tree,” and only Jacob Gils can transcend the simplicity of this poem to photograph the tree in its entire regal splendor.
To see and learn more of this unique artist:
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