World #13
World #13, 2006. Cibachrome 118,9cmx84,1cm.
© Ruud van Empel

RvE: To do collage is necessary for me to express my idea, as I mentioned before, I am not satisfied with taking just one picture, there are always to many imperfections, so I need to stage everything but even that is limited, and does not guarantee a perfect image.

Now in Photoshop there are new possibilities that enable me to almost reach perfection in the composition and colour, and I work with that in my own way and that is personal.

I work with my imagination and try to get that into photo-realism. absolute perfection you can not get in this technique because everything is a montage, photographed separately, so things look a bit strange, and that also gives it a personal feeling.


FB: Many of your work represents children immersed in a natural world without space and time, a forest of dreams, a paradise on earth. This is an invitation to a return to a primordial and pure state of the existence? The series “Word” suggests a kind of universality that goes beyond skin colour and borders of states. Is indeed racial tolerance another of your messages? How important are the social themes in your work?

RvE: For me it is not important, it is the same for me to use a black child as a white child, they are both innocent, there is no real difference between them, and I thought that was normal to think like that, I thought everybody thought like that and it is strange to find out that some people don’t like that I am showing dark people, I sometimes get hate-mail and such things, unbelievable!

This social theme is more big than I thought.


World #20
World #20, 2006. Cibachrome 84cmx60cm.
© Ruud van Empel

Fb: Can you say a few words about one of the pictures that accompany this interview?

RvE: World #20 is inspired on one of my own childhood photographs, when I was a kid I had to wear a suit with a tie and short trousers, I was supposed to look like a young gentleman but off course I only wanted to play wildly in the gardens and fields around our house.

So it is funny to see a young boy all dressed up in a suit, and I translated this to dark children in tropical forest, in detail you can see a marking on his left knee, there is a little wound from playing to wildly but for the rest he is looking as a perfect example of a nice and good child.

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