The pretended ignorance of vegetarian photographer Jillian Lochner’s work offers a humorous touch that lingers in the mind a lot longer than a slap on the wrists.

When I asked this tiny heavyweight photographer, Jillian Lochner, how this idea was conceived, she explained that shooting without any preconceived ideas, but rather from a knowing that transcends structure, is what she enjoys most about her work and about this shoot in particular. Instinctively, together with set stylist, Kirsten Lipshitz, the day unfolded while each hour strung together the elements that produced this layered series of photographs, generously dipped in humour. Each image is framed in dark wood that makes up a crucifix shape of 8m by 6m.

This entire series was hand-printed by Bunny, who is a genius in his own right. He prints from his gut the same way I shoot from my gut, the same way Kirsten styles from her gut. I believe in good teamwork from beginning to end’

says Jillian. ‘My work very intentionally juxtaposes the crass and the horrific with the fragile and vulnerable. The juxtaposition is ironic and the aim is to awaken the viewer’s sensibility towards the subject matter’, she says. This initially personal project, was nominated for the Bret Kebbel award.

Jillian does not ‘babysit’ the viewer but rather encourages one to look beyond the one-dimensional image and to transpose and search for vibrations of thought which hold knowledge that is not available through the ordinary rate of thought vibration – hail Napoleon Hill – and to discover for oneself what is hidden in the images by devising a personal interpretation.

She often uses dead animals in her work because ‘we have the same skin and blood, yet it is acceptable to do what we do to them, without punishment! I have come to realise that it is not only the images, but the strength of character behind the work that matters’, she adds. Jillian counts certain philosophers as her mentors and she believes that with their wisdom and insight she has grown enormously as a person, which is of the utmost importance to her work. As Nietzsche says: ‘What someone is, begins to be revealed when his talent abates, when he stops showing us what he can do.’

By Amelia Burger

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