I took an existing 12″ x 12″ photographic proof from a series I shot a few years ago and deconstructed it. With a utility knife I sliced the print into the thinest strips I could manage. My guess is that shredding it ended up being about 300 strips that varied in width but all are around 1/2 mm wide. I then piled these on top of each other creating a rather cool little nest and then photographed the structure.
These images are close ups taken with a wide angle zoom lens of the shredded print—approximately 35mm—at a very large aperture creating a very short depth of field.
With the same lens just widened to 17mm. All shot on a black paper background in my basement using a very simple lighting set up.
Here’s the original photograph.
These image below were the earlier versions, taken yesterday. I suspended the “nest” of strips on a piece of glass after shredding and shot these. This was also only 3/4 of the actual original print shredded. I like the new ones shot today.
There’s something about taking an image that I thought was about something, then literally destroying it to creating something sculptural that I like a lot. These are the best part so far of a continuing story about appropriating my own work to make new “different” work.
It’s like the Phoenix. Rebirth of something out of destruction.
July 10, 2015 I finally got new walking shoes. I ended up with canvas Blundstones and I hope they live up to the build and quality of the regular version. They weigh about a million times less and seem to breath more than their clunky but lovable siblings. The initial trial run yesterday went without a hitch until I spilled Gelato on them at the Junction Night Market.
The Wallace Walk condo development by our house is going to be nice when it’s complete. It will drastically change the area but I look at this as a very good thing. The more people, the better. It’s the first time I’ve looked at the website and it’s pretty funny. Marketing really is a job with no shame. The image below is a view from the bridge that crosses what are now the GO/UP/VIA tracks from Wallace to Dundas West. Looking down and a weird angle. Ladder obsession.Back to my circles and squares in the studio. Here I’m fooling around in hopes to capture the kernel of an idea for a painting. I have a sneaking suspicion the idea might be a dud. Oh well, typically it will morph into something else and that’s always a good thing.A shot through the window into the space of the 8-11 collective on Spadina. I’m assuming it’s between exhibitions or they’ve moved. They no longer have a sign up and but that might be a result of the possible legal hassle such a sign might have caused. I love this space right now in it’s very-nearly-empty state. It may however be interesting to see the chaise lounge box become animated with the infusion of electricity.More studio ideas. I found two boxes of analog photo filters. There are a ton of various sized sheets in this and another smaller box. I’m experimenting with a possible series but for now the box itself is fascinating for it’s potential in a Joseph Albers meets dead analog process kind of way.
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. : )
Circular is an extension of Circles and Ellipses and Colour Theory. The images in this post are simple constructions shot with available light in my makeshift studio. I think the next step will be to get some more advanced type of lighting, maybe a better/truer black & white background material and to elaborate the constructions.I’ll print these as single photographs, no edition. This will make each photograph unique and bring me closer to sculpture/painting. I think of these more like the work of many before me who make something, photograph it and then disassemble it, or let the work just cease to be. I think of Andy Goldsworthy, although his work has a more formulated thesis and involves a more complicated construction scenario. These are simple constructions. I like simple.The über contrast between the stark white and black backgrounds is working well, but could be improved. I also have to be careful with the edges of my dibond circles. In hindsight creating the circles from photographic prints and then mounting them in dibond was an expensive and not very robust move. When I shoot these on a slight angle the edges of the material detract from the overall effect. These are also pretty touchy. They scratch easily and the edges of the photographs lift off the substrate when I fool around with them too much. It was also an expensive process that was sort of overkill. One of the surprises is the shadows. I think I can manipulate the shadows to be even more interesting as well use other geometric forms of material to make the light behave in more regulated and angular patterns. Right now all that can be really seen are the circular shadows caused by the angle of the light sources. If I can move to either constant light sources with more power or strobe flash light I might be able to create solid lines of shadow that criss cross the sculptural surface of the disc and the picture frames.I’ll print these in various sizes, but I’m leaning towards 48 x 48. I’m toying with making them small prints, and that might be an option because they they’ll become affordable and more practical for many people. There’s also a possibility I’ll take the circles out into the world. I’m fixated in a pile of these crammed into a corner of the stairwell in my office building. It’s a concrete staircase and very bland. I think the circles would seem so unreal and maybe slightly happy there.
I’ve always been interested in other people’s self portraits but never really into doing them myself. It just seems odd. Despite the reservations I had to shoot an image of myself for TIAF this year. I’m a little yellowish, but I think that’s my natural colour. Slightly pinkish with yellow highlights and a good dose of mottled beige-orange bits.
This is a bit passportish (thanks Elias), but it’s also a bit Chuck Close-like at the same time. I think it would make a good large print simply because of the detail captured by my camera. You can click on the image to see it a bit larger and get the idea. Chuck Close scale is what I’m thinking, but who wants a huge picture of me? Creepy.
The great discovery with this image was that my studio space in the basement can work with ambient lighting. There’s very little light down there right now and it doesn’t seem to matter. Four compact fluorescent bulbs do the trick for now, although I do want to get a soft box, and maybe two half decent strobe lights and stands.
I used Photoshop to; even-out the background and remove some weird shadows, do some colour adjusting and add bit of contrast. The only other thing I did was remove an annoying dot in between my eyes that must be a residual chicken pox scar. I have crazy old man eyebrows if you look close enough and–believe it or not–this is me smiling. If I consciously try to smile for the camera I get it all lopsided. This image was the result of about forty attempts. Now that I read this through that last bit gives me an idea.
I could learn to smile for the camera. I can shoot photographs of myself until I get the smile right. I think there might be hundreds of attempts, but hopefully I can learn how to manipulate my face into something that looks genuine and warm. This in itself is funny to me. I can work hard to create the illusion that I’m genuine and warm.
Just thought of this one below when I was fooling around.
This is the first time I’ve used the large format camera my awesome neighbour gave me. Unfortunately I’ve just used it as a prop in this picture but over the winter I plan to actually use it. I like the idea of using myself as an unwilling model. It’s the closest I’ve come to shooting an actual person.
Reflections is an idea that came to me this morning in that limbo between sleep and the day.
The strangest thing about this was the vivid and casual nature of the images. It was as if I was consciously planning it in my sleep and I was aware this was happening. I’m sort of shocked that I remember it. The other strange thing is that when I was relaxing with my coffee at the computer this morning I opened a Tweet link that took me to a project that related to some of my newly realized concept.
Reflections is a studio shoot. The plan is to create a central sculptural piece and shoot it from several different angles. The central form would be an angular construction resembling a flower vase. I would create the piece from chunks of mirrored glass. These would be polygons with different sizes and configurations. I see the final structure as being a drug induced and uncomfortable disco ball where the pieces of the surface are rough and abrupt instead of uniform and organized. In general all the pieces of the sculpture would be apparently haphazard.
This sculpture would be suspended or somehow isolated in the air and small coloured sheets or pieces of material would be positioned so that that each is reflected in one of the facets of the crystallized sculpture. This would create a weird 3 dimensional colour mosaic which I would subsequently shoot.
The colours could be all slightly different shades of one particular colour. Yellow comes to mind first and foremost. White would be good and so would black but there are endless possibilities.
Shoot with a very large aperture and short depth of field with no flash to render the background reflected colours in a visible and more understate light.
Alternate idea is to get a hunk of tree branch chromed and use it and other similar natural substrates as the reflective surface but only use a white background so the shapes can be detected but the effect is the objects would appear “invisible” when photographed. To do this I might have to make a metal cast of a branch then have that cast chromed.
Both concepts seem to be exploring photography and sculpture.