In his profession as a business strategist, Marc Erwin Babej observes and analyzes patterns in the relationship between a target audience and a subject (a product or organization). Then, he reconfigures these patterns to influence the audience’s perspective on, and motivations toward, the subject. His photographic work applies this mental process to images. An image, to Marc, is the functional equivalent of a strategy: a deliberate reconfiguration of thought-patterns. This equivalence also applies to the role of an image. Like a strategy, an image is not an end in itself, but a means to stimulate the viewer’s deliberation.
But while Marc’s business strategies aim to instill a sense of confidence and certainty, his photographic work seeks to evoke purposeful introspection: to subvert categorical presuppositions in the way we view people or things that we assume we know or understand. His images are designed to shed light on mental gaps resulting from conflicting beliefs held by the viewer. A successful image inserts a “crowbar” into such a gap, entices the viewer to use this crowbar to pry the gap apart – and, ultimately, to discard that part which was a flawed assumption.
Marc’s work makes the familiar appear strange, and the strange appear familiar – a stance that embraces the viewer with one arm, while holding him at a distance with the other.
Marc is deeply committed to black-and-white photography, for two reasons: First, he is color blind. Knowing that the color information his brain receives is incorrect, he has learned to discard it in his mind. Second, he appreciates that black-and-white doesn’t show the world as it really is – which supports his intent of creating a deliberative distance between viewer and subject.
This commitment also comes to life through a unique end-to-end black-and-white production process that involves no element of color. Using the Leica M Monochrom, the only digital camera with a black-and-white only sensor, his images are b/w from the outset (not conversions from color, as produced by any other digital camera). These images are then developed with a unique method that produces traditional wet-processed prints on b/w paper, directly from his digital b/w files.