Saturday, May 08, 2010

Art, cont.

No, you aren't getting off that easily. I'm going to keep hammering on these ideas until I bore myself silly. Which may be before you lose interest but more than likely will be well after. We like to listen to ourselves talk. We can take more of ourselves than others can tolerate. At least I can. I have just this instant decided to call this picture 'More of Me.' This reflection was shot in April at a fancy downtown apartment building. It was cropped and retouched for the header. There is me, recognizable as always. I'm looking especially, um, robust partly due to the backpack and jacket (still cool in April, sigh) and partly due to the full head-to-foot image. But it's me, three times. Really, there is no question, right?

Below is the picture again, after the crop, before the retouch. I now think I like this one better. I am definitely more recognizable but the loss of detail to the darkening above really didn't do that much harm to one's ability to identify me.
Since last I wrote I received a notice through social media that there was a show at a local gallery. The work intrigued me and I also thought how it meshed with this discussion. The work is at Big Medium and is by Jason Urban and I thought 'Wow, this idea of making pictures and then rearranging them on three-dimensional objects. Cool. I could steal that." Not really. But it is a little like my idea of printing my reflection pix and putting them in shadow boxes lined with reflective material or objects. Jason's work has that element of art that is the whole 'idea of it' that we so often see these days. Oil painters? Well, you can move beyond the medium and have an idea of it but often it's one someone else already had. (Lump up the paint, drip the paint and make friends with Peggy Guggenheim, add non-paint to the canvas, paint mostly all one color, etc.) Anyway, how much of art is the idea and how much is the execution? There's always some of both.

I promised that today we would trudge through some old reflection pictures and my comments about them. If you don't feel like linking, then stop reading now. Sometimes words without pictures are so boring.

Going back over four years, I want to call your attention to a picture replete with meaning and unintended consequences. There we are, of course, obscured and reflected (mirrors! yeah, more layers) but ourselves. I weighed eight or ten pounds more. (Don't ask how I know. The answer reveals an occasional streak of OCD.) The shop window is one at Uncommon Objects, one of my favorite places to shoot because I can rip off the fun objects they put in the window. The church across the street provides a shape and, in this case, a religious symbol, too. Pointed to by the hand of, well, of something. There are many 'frames within the frame' on this one. That is an attraction to photographers according to some words I've read from great ones. (Maybe they said amateur photographers.)

That church across from Uncommon Objects has appeared in so many shots, for so many different effects. Here is just provides a shape, cutting the corners of the photo. Here some shape and texture. Here it once again plays a church sort of straight up.

Some of the work also evokes an idea of a place that isn't Austin. In this picture there is an icon of the city I was in at the time, reflected in the distance. But somehow I like this self-portrait one at the same spot better.

Here's a shot where I intentionally (nah, probably accidentally) reflected something in the window object with my stance, hand up with camera, sort of evoking the statuary. I don't usually try to imitate the objects, but hey it's an interesting idea.

That's all for now. But after slogging through so much of my old 'work' I'm thinking of addressing this issue: why, when there is already so much writing and so many photos (a bunch of it your own), why create more? Now here is a (free idea alert) notion: a novel about a society that decided that there were enough texts and images and that no more could be created for purely artistic purposes until the collection had been adequately studied and cataloged. This would mean that texts would be limited to news stories, government documents, technical papers and that images would be purely for historical or personal identification. Naturally people would start trying to sneak the invented and inventive into the mundane. Doing art illegally. Which always makes it better somehow. Maybe tomorrow we will talk about how the whiff of crime can enhance art and how that applies to my 'work.'

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