A little while ago I shot this photo below. Some time after getting up and dressed I came into our bedroom to find the sun illuminating all the dust and aerosol spray in the room and made it like a rather ghostly presence.
The image put me in mind of the work of Francesca Woodman, although when I reviewed her images to see whether it resembled them in any way I could not find an obvious link. But this image and her work do share something – an evocation of difference and the unseen real. Still I enjoyed seeing and thinking about some of her photos again. But that photo is not today’s photo of the day: this is.
The intension began with a similar idea to that in the original photo – to shoot one image where the light caught the atmosphere. But when reviewing the images I wanted to amplify the atmosphere and so imported the RAW photos into Elements to experiment. As I did so by adding layers my original intension quickly became redundant because it was clear that the purity of the image in terms of atmosphere was enhanced by the adding – but not aligning – of each layer. By the time I had six layers all showing the same scene the original vision had given way to this – a spectacle of pure atmosphere. (When I added more layers the image became too dense and lost something).
I’m very pleased with the outcome. The image is purer even though this seems counter intuitive when you think its the result of much more processing. I’d define the photo as expressionist because this isn’t a window into the world but rather an interpretation of it, or should I say it’s formalist rather than realist and leave the term expressionist to its historical association? In any event I don’t think I could have achieved the same result just by thinking. I needed to be shooting and processing the images for the above result to reveal itself to me. So whereas I once thought the idea of creating an image a day rather vacuous (link) I now see it as a means to improve because it makes me experiment and creates serendipity.
A beautiful and ‘atmospheric’ image, Pete; and, as it happens, I’m right with you on the layers of meaning (and even purity) that processing (playing, even!) can unleash – the potential that digital image-making has opened up for us all!
Thanks Stan – I look forward to some more of your montages.
You certainly have captured atmosphere Pete, actually two, both very different. The movement in your second image reminds me a lot of Idris Khan’s work… https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/idris_khan_becherhouse.htm
Hey Thanks Tanya, I didn’t know of another photographer whose work was like this (apart from Keiths self portrait in Ironman) and so your reference was really helpful.
I tried to respond to this yesterday but it seemed to disappear into the mist somewhere. Anyhow, what I was trying to say was how I enjoy your posts for not only their daily content but also for the references to other photographers that you include. This allows the viewer to dig a bit deeper if they wish but it also suggests a deeper understanding from yourself. With this image I liked how serendipity (or accident) helped to create something new – this is something that the new Level 3 course encourages very much and is something I need to try more of.
Thanks Paul. I have the following statement stuck on my wall. Clive made it in a post a long time ago: “What’s required is conceptually sophisticated work, that has been contextualised within photographic culture and history, through research and reflection, and presented sensitively in the manner appropriate to the context.”
This statement more than any other has guided me and I try to make photos that work as both pictures and visual discourses. That doesn’t always work of course!