Some time ago I posted a consolation photo. I ran out of day as I tried to get to a particular vantage point in the Livingston range north west of the Chain Lakes. On the evening of August 7th, I drove out to that vantage point. As the blue of the evening faded to black, I laid out my sleeping bag, foam pad, and pillow in the bed of my truck. A vision of sleeping under stars vanished with the howling wind. The inside of the truck was quieter, but it only has one bench seat and it is narrower than I am tall. After a truly ghastly sequence of uncomfortable catnaps, the alarm went off at 4:30 Sunday morning.
This little adventure had begun with a dawn photo in mind. As is so often the case with both life and photography, my ideas and my reality differed. Photographically the sunrise was not particularly noteworthy. So, I tried to make it interesting (photo 1), and once again we have a consolation prize (photo 2).
The other two photos that survived the digital shredder are in today’s gallery (below).
Yesterday morning the alarm went off at 3:30, and I stumbled out of bed at 4:09. I thought there might be some mist to be found out towards Acme. I came across a possibility but I could not wrap my head around angle, location, and perspective. Ok, there was a faint glimmer of an idea that vanished in the white lines of the highway.
The theme that emerged was yellow and triangles.
If you are worried that the RA series has gone fear not. I have made some mistakes and learned some things since the last image. My current challenge is to get to the places I have in mind at the right time of day.
Today’s post comes in two parts. The first part is a new entry into the RA series (RA-008) and the second is this text. In response to a comment of Keith’s, I said I would try to articulate some of my thoughts behind RA-00x.
In response to our fleeting attention span, I wanted to initially arrest the viewers attention span, and then hopefully make the stop worth while. Contributing to this is size, and structure.
The repetition has evolved from a single image being repeated multiple time to a set of images with subtle differences. For instance in RA-008 there are 6 different pictures plus a 7th photo along the bottom. Speaking of structure, as mentioned in the revised introduction, I thought it was important to pick up the plastic once it was photographed, and then it made sense to take a photo with the plastic removed.
I like the playfulness of Hockney and his work with Polaroids. Each of the images RA-001 – RA-007 has the same exterior ratio as a Polaroid (1:1.31). The reference to Polaroid also accounts for the equal white space on three sides and more white space on the bottom. As April said these images read horizontal and the vertical presentation works against the individual pictures. In other words, the reference is both opaque and a distraction. Both images and ideas evolve. With RA-008 we move on.
I find that much of the work of the Dusseldorf school has a melancholy quality. On the other hand I really appreciate the way those photographers centred their subject matter, and address it head on. Burtynsky has spoken about the influences of painters on his work. I also think that he has some heritage in the Dusseldorf school. As I mentioned before I have long been drawn to the conflict between beauty and subject matter in his work.
So where does this leave you the viewer. I would like to think that there is enough skill and content in these images for you to stick around. At worst you give this series a passing glance. At best you stopped long enough to pause, appreciate the disconnect between contemplation and subject matter, and let your mind wander down any number of roads. Possible avenues are up to you but I can suggest the nature of perception, repetition, pollution, and visual overload. Or perhaps, you just went I don’t get but I like it, and that too is fine response.
In RA-002, there is only one image repeated multiple times, and there is no fence alone photo. The resulting image is ok but the boldness is not conducive to holding ones attention. The mind and eye quickly leave. It is good and is a 3.
In RA-004, there not enough colour separation between the bag and the land. Whatever else the photo has going for it, is overshadowed by that problem. It is bad and is a 2.
In RA-005, not all the photos are the same. There is enough subtlety to hold the eye and mind. I am inclined to linger. It is very good and a 4. April suggested that it does not read well vertically and it should be recomposed as a horizontal. Initially I balked. Now, after a nights sleep, I think she’s right. It could become a 5.
As always, the printed photo is more revealing than the onscreen version. It was a satisfying exercise. I am not as close to having a finished dozen as I thought. On the other hand, I know what I have to change.