Fotograf Magazine

Ryan Thompson

Bending Belief

Across a wide range of photographic projects Ryan Thompson investigates the question of credulity — what we are willing to believe – and points to structures of belief as they appear in the realms of science, pseudoscience, and the occult. A number of recent works are inspired by the story of Marcel Vogel, a former IBM scientist who became an unlikely advocate of the new age practice of crystal healing. As Vogel gained followers, aided by his scientific credentials, he went on to lay claim to a number of miracles, including summoning an apparition of the Virgin Mary in liquid crystals using the power of his mind. The only evidence of this event that Thompson could find are two questionable photographs floating around online, which he made into a postcard-a souvenir that toes the line of kitsch while suggesting one might spread the word by sending it to someone else. In another Vogel-related project Thompson uses more experimental methods, placing crystals on the bed of a scanner and manipulating them as the device makes its gradual recording. In the resulting images the hard stones seem to melt and bend as if releasing some kind of internal energy, like Vogel said they could.

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#24 seeing is believing