Komfort by Tine Bek
Komfort is a story by Tine Bek an Artist and Photographer currently based in Copenhagen. The editorial is pondering on the idea of comfort and the desire of humans for perfection. Perfection not only as a feeling of the physical objects in the surroundings but also as a state of mind.
Tine’s work has appeared in numerous fashion magazines, exhibitions and solo shows in Denmark, the UK, Norway, the US, an more.
"Titled Komfort, the series looks at the idea of comfort both as a feeling and as a state of mind".
Hi Tine, what was the main idea for the story ‘Komfort'?
I wanted to make a story that showed an almost crazy perfection.
Titled Komfort, the series looks at the idea of comfort both as a feeling and as a state of mind.
The pictures mimic perfection and become almost uncanny and out of place, where the line between reality and fake becomes hard to find. I have always been interested in the feeling of crossing the line when something becomes just a tad too pretty that its almost ugly, and vice versa. I normally have a style that's a bit rawer and not perfect at all, which I think is beautiful, but I wanted to test myself and see what would happen if I did a series of images with a very clean and coherent aesthetic, very digital and where I tried to mimic my own idea of perfection gone too far.
What is comfort for you, when do you feel comfort, and what may affect this feeling?
For me, it is the domestic space which is my comfort. I love the indoor home space, and it is my favorite place to photograph also. I have moved around a lot and lived in many different places and locations. My own home is never anything fancy or something I spend a lot of time or money on, but I love being in places where people really decorated and made a place a home. It's hard to pin down what it looks like, it's probably not really a style but more a feeling of someone spending time and energy on caring for a place and the things in it. I love being in other peoples places and housesitting used to be one of my favorite things. I feel at home pretty quickly both with people and in new places, and I think for me that is comfort.
Within my art practice I think a lot about comfort as well, but more so in a critical way, I guess. Not that comfort is bad but I do feel like we spend a lot of money on comfort and leisure, and I find this very fascinating. I try to break it down and understand my own relationship to it by looking at the raw materials I connect with comfort. Foam was the first raw material I started working seriously with, and I really like to think that we are all sitting on the same material. There might be different qualities and styles, they can be viewed by velvet or silk or cotton, but we all sit and use this material all the time. I’m sitting on it right now in a cafe. That project and all these thoughts on comfort started a couple of years ago when I was reading about the history of comfort and furniture, and how this invention of furniture and actual physical comfort in the home is a relatively new term.
"I love to play with reflectors and mirrors. The element of daylight is so amazing since it brings something organic and sometimes accidental to the images".
The citrus fruits bring energy to the story and juxtapose the feeling of comfort in terms of color. At the same time the fruits communicate the feeling of being home as those are the most common fruits one usually has at home. Could you describe how you see this connection?
I actually think that the citrus represents something exotic in the series. I know it's not exotic to eat citrus today, but in a way, it should be. Or at least to me, it represents a kind of old school luxury, this fruit that has travelled so long to get to us, but which has become a necessity and a habit in a normal home. I'm not trying to preach eating more locally, I just like to stop and realise the importance of some of these everyday elements, we sometimes take for granted. And as I wanted to incorporate some still life aspects into the editorial, I thought it would act as a nice reference to old still life paintings. The citrus fruit is, therefore, taking the same part as Agnes who is the model in the series. They are both acting the part of being almost too much, just crossing the line. The citrus is staged to an extent that is crossing into fiction as well as the whole series.
What is the gear you usually use when shooting indoors, how do you light the scene?
I usually prefer daylight, and I'll do almost anything to get away with or justify the use of natural light. I love to play with reflectors and mirrors. The element of daylight is so amazing since it brings something organic and sometimes accidental to the images. It is the same reason I love to shoot on film. It gives a sort of freedom in the limitations. All that being said, I do live in the north, and the winters are very long and grey, so I use light if I have to.
For the Komfort shoot specifically, I wanted to create this very clean and crisp feeling, which is far away from my reality. I wanted an almost sterile yet domestic environment, and the very lit room gives the awkward perfection I was trying to convey during this project. For this, I actually just used a flash which I bounced up to the ceiling. I think it's such a tricky balance for me as a photographer because I like to be very free and portable when I shoot, and sometimes big setups interfere with this. So it's always a judgment call. I tend to be very light on the gear, and I have been using these small pro photo lights a lot, which are battery driven and very easy to travel with.
I have previously used lots of flash in my photos, but I'm trying to explore other avenues these days, just to not get too comfortable and it is a good way for me to get more creative and make the perfect light myself.