Friday, March 26, 2010

... running into the unknown... [2]

As my wife and I watched "Oregon Art Beat" last night something caught my eye. The things that seem to be attracting me these days have a strong graphic quality to them. It feels like a more complete blurring of the line between photography and graphic arts, in more traditional terms.

Coming into work this morning I completed processing an image of Shelley Frederick and thought I'd try to implement the kind of image that caught my eye last night. It feels like yet another direction to launch off into.

Very exciting times. Particularly after a friend reminded me yesterday that just a few months back I was complaining that my muse had wandered off.

Seraphic Society - Shelley Frederick (Butoh - fractured by dimensions)

Friday, March 19, 2010

... running into the unknown...

I notice that as I work on photographic images how my awareness changes. It's almost as if my mind has taken leave and I'm left to respond to the work as it evolves. There seems to be no clear indication that a work is "completed" either. If I didn't force myself to pause and look back at a body of work or to see how an image has evolved, I might continue without end.

Alternative History - Hunter

This is how my recent work has come into being. I start with a broad idea and then let each of the images take me where they will.

A couple groups contacted me about working with them to collaborate on small image collections. They got what they needed for various promotionals and such. I received the opportunity to expand my portfolio of ideas, expressions, and finished works.

When I started processing the image from the "Night Flight" shoot with Gemma Adams and Stephanie Lopes, I felt that the results would be heavily textured. I could almost "see" how the finished images would be. That is, they would continue a theme I first developed with the Tribal Fusion, Steampunk works.

However, the image refused to follow my formula for processing. Something didn't feel right. The images looked pressed to fit into an expression that was inappropriate for the subject. So I took a step back and cleared out my mind (allowed it to take it's leave?). Then I started anew and tried to listen to what the subject had to say.

It didn't take long to realize that my subject was sleek and athletic. It demanded a cleaner, crisper line than my heavily textured work did. I couldn't hide the beauty, rather I needed to reveal it.

Night Flight - Gemma Adams, Stephanie Lopes

Stephanie Lopes shared that she felt the images evolved into a fairy tale-like expression. I can see what she's saying. I'm thrilled with the results and hope they are too.

A month later I had the opportunity to work with a Butoh group called the Seraphic Society. They presented an entirely different set of challenges.

Here was a group that reveled in the extreme. Here was a group who could move in a very different manner from the beautiful Night Flight troupe. Here was a group who wanted to experiment.

To add to expectations, they had also seen my work and liked what I had done in the past.

Yet, when it came time to process their images, I found I was stuck. Every time I tried to use the heavy textures from the Alternative History sets, my images didn't work. So taking a recent lesson and applying it to the Seraphic Society, I took a step back and cleared my mind yet again.

Seraphic Society - Viola Rose (Butoh)

What revealed itself at first was a very elegant, subtle, gorgeous light. The subject could still express something not commonly seen in culture and society. Yet it demanded an image expression that was very classic and pure.

After talking with Shelley Frederick and realizing they wouldn't mind my trying to go dark and scary, I tried a more subtle set of textures. Et voila! Another expression of the subject was quickly revealed.

Seraphic Society - Shelley Frederick (Butoh) diptych

Folks over on Facebook have been very responsive to both sets of images from the Seraphic Society shoot. For that matter, they were also very responsive to the fairy-tale like results from the Night Flight shoot too.