IC - Week 5 - Project development

I begun to work on the recent series of images I shoot at home with the intention to change the status of the captured fragment of the place from real to irreal, and by that to get rid of the burden of knowing.

The method is simple but very effective. I place various objects in front of the computer screen where the initial image is displayed, and record the new composition. By doing this three or four times, sometimes more, the initial image is loosing the recognisable details, the image contrast increases and the structure become soft and painterly. There is also very important aspect of a new element of the composition occurring on the image - the geometric pattern called moire and other specific to various apparatuses artefacts like fringing or vignetting. I "harvest' all of them and let them be part of the new image. It is some kind of collaboration between me and the machine. 

In oppose to what I did in the previous series during the last module, the composition is based on the real configuration of objects in a real place. I don't change the position of things, don't place them on a different background or change the way they're lit. All stays as it is and that is what makes those new compositions different from I did before and also from the common approach to still life representations. Very specific space, time and frame factors are now very important.

The process of blending together what was capture on site and what I decided to add is really interesting. I am freeing myself and the potential spectators, at least partially, from thinking about the qualities and meaning of easily recognisable objects and places, by leaving only a hint of their presence and thanks to that conveying more prominently the feeling of space, light, forms and colours.

There is a stronger resemblance to paintings in those new works which is rather desirable fact. It is not my intention to mimic the real space but to create a sense of my experience of it and a camera seems to be a perfect tool to achieve this. I create my images during the longer period of time as one image comprises of multiple iterations, this fact bring it closer to process of painting too.

RitaRodner-Places-26.jpg

It amazes me that all those expressive qualities can be produced just with a camera without any post-production software intervention. It is still very common to believe that camera intrinsic  function is to represent the "real" while "photography's ability to materialise the impalpable, while simultaneously dematerialising what was solid and real" (Johnson p.77) seem so obvious now.

The belief in expressive ability of the camera, commonly understood as an indexical and objective recorder of reality, was articulated by many artists like Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, Minor White to name just those mentioned by Susanne Sontag in her essay "Photographic evangels".

"As photographers describe it, picture-taking is both a limitless technique for appropriating the objective world and an unavoidably solipsistic expression of the singular self". (Sontag p. 122)

It is interesting to observe that many photographers who had a background in painting or initially wanted to be a painters, deals with photography in rather unconventional way (Uta Barth, Barbara Kasten, Laura Letinsky, Jeff Wall). They describe the process of creating they works as "making" not "taking" in oppose to what John Szarkowski wrote in "The photographer's eye":

"The invention of photography provided a radically new picture-making process - a process based not on synthesis but on selection. The difference was a basic one. Paintings were made - constructed from a storehouse of traditional schemes and skills and attitudes - but photographs, as the man on the street put it, were taken." (Szarkowski p.6)

REFERENCES:

  • Christina Lodder, Martin Hammer, Geraldine A. Johnson, Sebastiano Barassi(2004) "Brancussi Gabo Moholy-Nagy Immaterial" , Kettle's Yard, Exhibition catalogue 
  • Sontag, Susanne (1979) "On photography", Penguin
  • Szarkowski, John (2007) "The photographers eye", The Museum of Modern Art