Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Working with textures...

Back in the day, William Mortensen sold texture layers to photographic artists. They came (at least) in 8x10 inch sizes. A person selected the texture they wanted to print with and would head into the darkroom. Setting the enlargement size to 8x10 inches, focusing the negative, placing a red filter between the negative and the paper (so as to not expose the paper while setting the rest of this up and help control the exposure), putting the photographic paper into the easel, then laying the selected texture over the top of the paper would, many times, lead to magic.

Using similar principals, artists in the age of digital "lightrooms" can create some rather interesting images.

Nagasita - Art Nouveau Goddess

As many of my readers know, I use a Photoshop-like tool called the Gimp. It is the Open Source communities answer to Adobe's for sale products. The power of the tool allows me to create layers and masks, tints and crops, and all the color management/manipulation capabilities that I could ever desire. In fact, the tool is so powerful that I seldom use more than a fraction of it's overall capability. Much of the time I'm anxious when I launch the Gimp, particularly when I'm just doodling and have no strong idea of where I'd like to go. Stumbling around reaching for an idea while using this tool has many times lead me to disaster.

While some of the textures and tint layer are not obvious, I tend to use them to help create dimension in my work. Somewhere in my processed images will be metal, concrete, clouds, tiles, ceramics, or aged polishes. To support this work, I have created a library of tints and colors that I use in many different layers to achieve the kinds of blended effects that I'm after.

It's not hard to see what influences me. Old photos. Old photographic processes. Movie set lighting. Traditional poses. Jules Verne-like ideas. Increasingly, the more fantastic the idea, the more excited I am to try and express that idea. In fact, I'm thinking of a theme of Death in a Jar, a steam-era Mad Scientist of Biologist's Laboratory. Hmmmm... I wonder if I can pull it off...?

Nagasita - Art Nouveau postcard

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flickr Explore...

One of the more interesting features of Flickr is it's Explore function. This presents a collection of images rated by some mysterious algorithm that selects for something called "interestingness".

Having one's images "Explored" has become something of a contest between Flickr image contributors. There are even web pages devoted to describing how to make the "Explore" pages.

I have had many of my own photos "Explored". But it had been awhile since something of mine was picked up by the wee-minions of Flickr. So it was a bit of a surprise to see that one of my images made it up to #199 on July 19, 2010.

Nagasita - Art Nouveau

Wednesday, July 07, 2010