Thursday, February 5, 2015

Constructing an image - allowing time to figure it out.

One of the difficulties about constructed images is figuring out the composition. I have always been very interested in the space between painting and, perhaps what I'm doing these days is closer to photo-illustration than it is photography.  When a painter does a "photo-realism" painting, technique seems to overwhelm the viewer. The internal discussion is about the painting technique - how amazing it is that the painter made such a realistic copy. 

When a photographer creates a photo-illustration, the questions are also about technique (and I'm learning to minimize that dialog, since it's not really the point of the image). But, what's kind of cool is that, since it's a photograph,  we still get to include an assumption about "reality" which makes the discussion more complex. We bring to each photograph the assumption that this is real...or might be real. So, that's probably our most effective tool.

With that in mind, my biggest issue is the composition: what am I trying to say, where is the best location for the object, how big should the environment be relative to the object? Back when we shot with film, there was an automatic visual "buffer" built into the system. We evaluated the result usually a day, week or month after taking the image. There was the joy of discovering discovering an image you just didn't remember taking.

Compositing/Building images is a different story - you're faced with the choices as soon as you make the object - which is why you almost have to create a "waiting" or "maturation" period for the image. With this image, I started with the Melody Apartments - a local personal landmark. My idea was to take this "art work" out of its busy location and place it somewhere on its we could really see it. I knew I wanted an "empty" space - but that opens a new can o'worms, since empty isn't actually empty, if you get my drift. My first choice for a location was fairly sparse (I actually made it more so) and there was a single soft set of mountains in the background, which I felt could work as a balance for the subject. I experimented with placement and objects...but it just didn't quite fit. So I waited a week or so and came back to the image.

Looking at it after that week I changed to a different location with a softer light and more color because it had a strong sense of "magic"'s that for a technical term? It felt like there was a resonance between the soft colors in the structure and the soft light and textures of the new location. 

The intensity of the sky bothered me a bit, it clashed with the softer tonalities I was trying to work with. So I tried it with a sky tonality that seemed more in keeping with the overall feeling I wanted the image to evoke. 

And finally, without the tree...not sure which I'll go it's back to time and maturation. Allow the image time to find itself.

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