Glitch are pieces that were saved from a crashed hard drive. I seem to have a lot of these and find myself looking at them more and more. I love the random, error-driven arrangements and colour shifts.T3024x2024-11218A few years back I had a Lacie RAID drive for backup. It died a horrible death and so began the daunting task of having my files restored or at least recovered. The place I get work done on my Mac set to work and in a few weeks had recovered some data. The problem was that what they were able to recover was about 10,000 files and these had lost their names and folders.
So basically I had about 5 years of photography files that were all now just randomly numbered instead of named and they all sat in one folder. Finding stuff meant wandering through the data.

While wandering through, I realized that most of what had been recovered was multiple versions of the same file. Some were Tiff, some RAW and others were file types I’ve never heard of.
This was super depressing. Not only was all my work messed up, a lot of the files were damaged.

I continued taking new photographs and when I sold something older, I had to go into this drive and find it. It sounds horrible, but by this time I had resigned myself to the fact that shit happens, and frankly if I sell work it tends to be something I’m currently working on, and there’s very little backtracking required.  The other day when I was casually glancing back at my external drive setup where all these old files reside, I found myself looking at the error files again.

These are predominantly photographs of subways and a vacation about ten years ago that have been severely messed up. All I’ve done for the versions included in this post has been to crop the 2:3 ratio of each to a 1:1 square ratio. I find that’s the only orientation I like anymore. It’s been my production ratio now for about 7 years.T3024x2024-11567 I find it pretty cool that in the process of recovery for some reason each of these files has been mashed together with several other files and the colours have been messed with. It’s like they were lost for a while. IN the ether of electronic limbo, then they were found again  but that place where they had been had changed them. Reminds me of a very cool book series that I read recently The Southern Reach Trilogy.T3024x2024-11586Lately I’ve been reading a lot about success through failure. This is one of my biggest failures. I certainly learned to be more careful with my digital files, and now have a crazy 10 TB external drive and a traveling 1TB backup for all the final files I ever produce. I should be OK if there’s another failure, but this drive also has built in redundancy and tells me when one of it’s 4 component drives is about to fail. It’s worked very well for a while now.
T3024x2024-11611The thing about these images is that they are super random, and other than the original pictures and this new square crop have almost nothing to do with me other than this epiphany I’ve had in the lat week that these are worth something to me. They also fit very nicely in my developing interest of the image for the image sake, or photography about photography.T3024x2024-02503 So I’ll be going through this vast file full of files and looking for all the messed up images that were created.

It’s like finding a needle in a haystack, and it’s rather daunting to go through all the stuff, but the beauty of some of these images is clear. They also represent a recurring motif in the work I’m producing now which relates to the mythology of the Phoenix and the creatinon of something from the destruction of another thing. T3024x2024-02565 T3024x2024-06998 T3024x2024-06995 T3024x2024-02562

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I crumpled up some prints and then took pictures of them.

While I was working on Circular in the studio I started thinking about crumpled paper. At first I was simply thinking about something I saw somewhere. A drawing of a crumpled piece of paper. I’m not sure if I’m imagining that or if I’ve actually seen one. For some reason as I write this the artist Escher comes to mind but I have no idea if he did such a drawing and I don’t see it after doing a simple Google search.  I then began to imagine how I could create a pseudo crumpled piece of paper using origami techniques and researched that a bit. Again I came up empty handed. I did find an article on the physics of paper crumpling, but it’s not really pertinent.

I started to clean up a bit. My studio is really just a table in the basement and it’s a bit cluttered with stuff we should probably simply throw out. Anyway, I was organizing and I found a bunch of 12″ x 12″ artist proofs I had intended to send out for publicity as some point but never did. I crumpled one up. The first one is shown below. I think it’s the most successful of these three, mainly because you can tell it’s a photograph and the subject is somewhat identifiable as you can see in the original reference image. The colours are also nice.

I think I can explore this act of crumpling in a lot of ways. The work above is a slightly destructive impulse I had towards older work. It’s not because I don’t like that work any more but because I wanted to see it differently. I’m very engaged in discovering new ways to look at photography or in ways to re-use it that depart from the typical practice of shooting a subject because its beautiful or immediately interesting.

The final shots from yesterday yielded another direction. I have a paper backdrop on a roll. I cut a piece of it off to cover the table I shoot on. I needed a new backdrop because the foamcore I’ve been using is a bit yellowish. I ended up with a section of paper that was some 12 feet across and about 5 feet deep that I had intended to throw out. It was dirty and ripped already. Instead of recycling it I crumpled it up. The result are shown here. I like the detail and the circular nature of the ball of paper. This crumple is about 12″ in diameter.


I’d like to work on creating crumples using some sort of process. But for now the random act of balling up a piece of paper has a lot of possibility for me.

I just remembered a possible alternate source of inspiration for this work. I love the work of Tom Friedman. He did some work with paper where he crumpled it and then meticulously recreated a copy of that same crumpling in another sheet of paper. While I was looking for that work I come across the work of Martin Creed. He crumpled a ball of paper and put it on display.

For me the bottom line is that the crumpled piece of paper reflect, holds, and cast an amazing light in the studio. It’s architecture is something to be sought after and not maligned. : )

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