In a series titled Volutes (Curls in English), French photographer Gilles Soudry captures the haunting images of smoke frozen in time. Set against a black backdrop, the jets and coils unfold hypnotically, creating eerie, translucent shapes that take the likeness of strange creatures: aliens, ghosts, deep-sea invertebrates, and parasites come to mind. The indistinct shapes allow the viewer to make his or her own interpretation of what the smoke has manifested. At once ephemeral and static, it’s like an otherworldly dance that transcends the logic of space and time, or as Soudry describes it, “an aerial choreography [. . .], outlining an imaginary figure which is freezing into crystalline transparency before it scatters” (Source).
Trained as a photoengraver, Soudry’s work is aimed towards the “photography of matter, surface effects, [and] transparency” (Source). He is interested in shifting outlines and fluid dynamics, combining the fixed nature of the image with figures of immateriality and transience. Volutes captures beauty, mysticism (and indeed, a dark sentience) where otherwise there would just be a thin haze. In this way, Soudry fosters an awareness and appreciation for the beauty and forms that occur on the periphery of materiality and awareness.