Anyone who ever witnessed a total eclipse remembers the disturbing and yet fascinating moment that precedes the darkness : animals fall silent and cease all movement, everything seems halted, hanging fire. Laura Henno’s photographs trigger the same kind of feeling : the impression that time has been suspended, frozen; and that during this intervening period, human beings are delivered up to some invisible, mysterious force.
Here we see teenagers or very young people lost in their musings or suddenly immobilised by something out of our perception. They indubitably appear to us as characters from a narrative, but we will never know anything about their history, about what they are looking at or what they are thinking of. Sometimes we shall not even see their faces, when they turn their backs on us or are engulfed by darkness. Laura Henno’s photographs are mostly built on pronounced chiaroscuro : the character is alone in the light while the surroundings are deliberately left in shadow. When the entire scene is lit, as in Freezing, in which an icy white pallor covers the landscape, there remains what we might call the “out of field mystery”, the conviction that there is something there of which we know nothing, but which exerts an irresistible pull on the character. (…)