Today, I have some lighter fare for you. The 3 high resolution photos are from my recent trip to the Yukon. Magic light and landscape. Photo no. 3 could print at over 52 x 18 inches at 300 dpi. Photo no. 1 is an early experiment in panorama. It is the result of older technology and a processing error. It makes me smile.
I could have just easily titled this “so, what is art.” This post is a continuation of the thread and response from yesterday (2018-04-04). Thank you Keith for your comment and taking the time to do so (so-what-are-you-trying-to-say).
First of all let’s address the easy question first. What to do about liking a photo in Instagram that has been split into more than 1 panel. The easiest answer is it doesn’t matter. The fact that you have visited and possibly found the image rewarding gives me great pleasure. The second slightly more difficult answer is to like the top left most panel. To that end I will add that as guidance to my Instagram account.
And now to the minefield. But before that I have an admission. For a host of neurotisms that I am slowing working through with a team of highly trained professionals I actually have trouble translating my thoughts into words. Musically and rhythmically I am a basket case. But, I do understand visual language. Which leads my back to photography and art, today (remember yesterday’s comment about contradicting myself) art is about the creative exploration of an idea or set of ideas. My tool for exploring ideas happens to be photography.
It took me a long time to get what the Cubists were about. In part they were trying to capture multiple perspectives in a single canvas. A classic example is Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”. Photographers have tried exploring that idea through multiple exposure techniques (oh I feel sleepy). There is though something that photography is very good at because it is fundamental to the technologies (regardless of simplicity or complexity). Time is inherent to photography.
Cartier Bresson went with the definitive moment and sought that single fraction of a second when time, form, and tension were in balance. Bresson helped make Leica famous. To this day I still lust for a Leica rangefinder camera, and I blame Bresson for that. There have been those rare times when that fates have favoured me and I have caught that moment. Bresson went with the single photo. Other photographers have explored time and ideas using series. Rather than collapsing a nude on the staircase into a single image, photography gives us the ability to explore that nude as a sequence or set of perspectives. When placed together we see that set as an exploration in a similar way to what the cubists were doing with painting.
My Instagram grid experiment began simply enough. I wanted to show an image larger than the Instagram format permits. Now I am not only stuck with the grid, but it also provides an opportunity to present the image as something more than the sum of its parts. The best of those using a grid actually have each panel strong enough to stand on its own (I am not there yet).
So at its simplest two or more images placed together are automatically related. When done well the relationship is discernible. Do all my blog posts have this intent? No. But whether or not I take the responsibility for the relationship, photos presented together are connected (the medium makes it so).
For your viewing pleasure I have a salute to Bresson (Fall 2015), and two images (March 2018) from my many year exploration of space. One was captured on a morning ramble south east of Calgary, and the other came from Whitehorse.
Since last I wrote here, I have had an extended weekend in the Yukon photographing the Northern Lights and the creamy daze of northern light. I also made a brief trip to England. This last weekend I finally responded to a friend’s request to comment on his photographs. This last event re-emphasized my responsibility to be clear about some of the ideas I am exploring with my photography. Here are some thoughts on that subject.
There are images technology records, but we do not perceive until we see the resulting image. For instance, photo 1 shows the results of a hand-held attempt at HDR. The light wasn’t great, but I enjoy the ghosting of figures that occur over the 3 photos taken in quick succession.
Space and form. There is space on its own, especially when ground and sky blur. These rare photos are both inviting and disquieting. Again there is an interest in perception. The viewer (ok me) tries to add a horizon that is not there. This past winter I had a couple of number 5s in this vein.
The idea of form is manifest in two ways. There is the form of land and line that define space. There is also the way human constructs interrupt space with shapes both smooth and jagged.
I am slowly going through the process of organizing a slide collection that goes back decades in preparation for having them scanned. Initially I was a little disturbed to see that form and space have been a long running interest. Now, I am taking comfort in that same observation.
Just so I don’t get too high on an intellectual horse, there are also images I try to capture because I get a particular kick out of colour, light, and form converging in a way that is pleasing to my eye.
As I have mentioned before, 3 or 4 years ago I started making individual books for friends and family. In recent months I have started thinking about collections in a much narrower light and engaging the viewer (admittedly a small number) by presenting a set of images which have small variation or have a very narrow focus.
Time, Perception, Light, and Colour.
Related to the above, I recently presented an “Exploration in White” on Instagram at ArtSpud80.
I of course reserve the right to contradict myself tomorrow.
Here are photos from a ramble around Oxford from early March. The first 5 photos are vertical and display correctly when you click on them.