The Gravity series addresses both the literal and the metaphorical meaning of the word.
For Gravity #1, #2 and Gravity #9, #10 Geenen kept his camera poised in his windowsill for weeks, influencing the reality below to meet his vision of it. Both images refer to the same construction site and yet use gravity in uniquely different ways, catching our eye with the exchange of fluorescent objects and leading us down a ladder into a subterranean world or guiding us vertically along a neat row of brickwork that serve to replenish that very same site. Gravity #2 becomes a metaphor for the surface of a photograph, a surface that eventually covers up and restores what is at work beneath.
Geenen’s Gravity series fulfills its prophecy, taking us to the depths of each scene. In Gravity #3 and #5, people stand in the lowest points of a marsh, footing that would not appear to sink were people not standing there. In #3, a woman paints the landscape from its nadir. In #5, a man in a wheelchair in the midst of the marsh is at an impasse, a deep set of tracks behind him. He looks over his shoulder, having been pushed in this position and left to ponder his next move. A companion in a red dress disappears stage left, seemingly unconcerned.
Perhaps Geenen’s most earth-shattering image takes earth shattering quite literally, capturing a meteor before impact. Gravity #4 reveals a rooftop view of an Amsterdam skyline. The image is slightly shaken to suggest the moment before impact. The meteor itself is actually the rising moon, taken with a long exposure. The moon creates a streak in the sky that seems effortlessly and speedily headed to earth. The brilliant platinum light is mirrored in interiors espied through windows. From this vantage point we glimpse porches, curtains, and a bookcase—a barely intimate peek into lives soon to be shaken by the incoming mass. The implied gravitas, thereby, is doubly intended.
Geenen is not playing tricks as much as he is bestowing a reason to exist on the subjects of his photographs. Supplying us with the means of interpretation, his visual clues are layered into works that give us pause as much for their subtle complications as their immediate beauty. Meteor or no meteor, photos like Gravity #4 captivate us with their own breathlessness. Whether taken from his windowsill or elsewhere in the world, Geenen makes us long to be there, in the scenes of his photographs, looking for more clues.