Archive for April 2011
Well, the crit seemed to go ok, the feedback that I got was all along the lines of the stuff that I’d been thinking about when I was preparing and selecting.
Having given it a days thought, I shortened that in the critique to a verbal “I’m interested in how photography can make icons of ordinary things.”
My little wee 5×7″ print all on it’s lonesome, well, it does have a couple of vents to keep it company I guess – incidentally that’s the name of the gallery – “Vent” – not sure which one is ‘the’ vent – probably the one above my pic.
It’s quite a hard thing to view, cos it’s really as much a mirror as a print in an odd way – it’s black on black, but how you look at it determines the tones you see,
And, I’m reaching a point where I’m starting to see what a camera I’m building will look like – it’s a half plate camera for dryplate (the hole at the back is 7×7″ – it’s a big camera by my standards).
The front will be friction focus and will have front tilt, no other movements are planned in this iteration – I’ve been working on it for about a month on and off, I guess there’s another week or so of work to go.
And the obligatory studio shot;
I think that I’m at a stage where I think I may have gotten my head around this process (the chemistry side that is), and I’m mildly astonished by just how extensible it possibly could be – I’ve been doing some research and I think that I may be able to construct a formula which is about 50 to 100x faster to print (ie. 600 down to 6-12 min or so), and I think I could make it panchromatic to some degree, even just blue sensitive would help.
The best thing about being a process driven photographer at a university doing art photography isn’t the toys they have in the photo department, cos I mainly have my own (though their toys are admittedly niftier than mine, and involve less duct tape), it certainly isn’t the access to workshop tools and time, cos those have to be individually negotiated and workshop technicians usually come from engineering or building backgrounds (as in, they often stop women doing things the boys are allowed to – grrr). No, the nicest thing is the library, and the access to online science journals – that makes it so much easier to research stuff it’s not funny. Having a studio is a bonus too.
I’m pretty sure that physautotype is entirely viable at this point – I’ve also been researching dryplate manufacture – it seems doable, if not trivial.
Now I just need to find a chemical supplier for a couple of chemicals (and the $$$).
Oh, and finish manufacturing my big new halfplate camera 😀
By hand 😦
I have about a week off right now and nothing due for another several after that, I’ll be picking up some glass and chemistry tomorrow cos the shops are shut today – easter holidays, I so need to look at a calendar more often. But anyhow, I’m hoping to get something happening with this process in the next few days.
Oh, the critique went well, I’ll have a photo of the piece later. Assuming I can be bothered going back into school today.
Some things I’ve tried – first up an orotone – which is a fancy term for painting the back of a positive gold (you’re supposed to use a ‘particular’ paint, but whatev’s, I just used oil paint)
A black print (yup, I made that name up) – sorta like an ambrotype, but not like an ambrotype at all (silver gelatine liquid emulsion based) – I’m handing in one of these this week – it’s washing as I type.
The second I got a line;
The third I got a rhinoceroses bottom;
I messed up the development a bit, but it’s proof of concept – violin rosin and meths with mineral turps as a developer – a la Niepce. I’ve figured out a couple of things to improve the print – but learning to coat the stuff onto glass is top of the list – not easy compared to gelatin, or even collodion.
I have a masters crit Thursday, so after that I’m looking forward to doing some more of them, fun!
ART:21: Could you talk about the dog bone prints?
MANN: If I could be said to have any kind of aesthetic, it’s sort of a magpie aesthetic—I just go and I pick up whatever is around. If you think about it, the children were there, so I took pictures of my children. It’s not that I’m interested in children that much or photographing them—it’s just that they were there, and it’s the same with dog bones. I just had dozens of dog bones all over my living room floor, so I photographed them. In fact, I was sort of looking at those dowels over there and thinking, “You know, I bet I could make a good picture out of that pile of dowels.” It’s just this sort of little magpie thing—that something will catch my eye and I’ll go for it. They don’t have any real meaning; it’s just that they have an allure somehow. The texture and all that stuff that catches your eye, I guess. That leads us into a segue for something we probably don’t need to get into now, but there’s something about the way I approach photography which is very spontaneous. I mean, I see a dog bone, I bring it in, I take a picture, I like the picture, I’ll show you the first picture I took. I thought “Hey, that’s a pretty good picture.” So then I go collect all the other dog bones and I bring them in and I take a few more pictures and then I put them on the wall. And then, before long, the gallery says, “Well, let’s do a show of dog bones.” So we do a show of dog bones, and then some cynical postmodern critic will come along and say, “Oh my god, look at the show of dog bones; what do you suppose it means?” And it means that I want to see what dog bones look like photographed.
I really like that as a lucid description of process 😀
Taken from Art21 – http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mann/clip3.html
Some new video works (about 5mb each);
Yeah, I like bastardising technology 😀
I guess this is where I do the ghost of Christmas future, having done present and past. Though to be honest I watched the Dr Who version of that story recently and am currently thinking of the flying shark, so, be warned, I may not be channelling Dickens in an academically appropriate manner.
In my art practice, what are my ongoing concerns;
Firstly the very idea of representation, and re-presentation are important – the former is a means of denoting something that stands for a meme or an idea it is conceptual – much in the manner that a (ostensibly female) model could stand for femininity (or a range of feminine ideals), the god awful “The two ways of life” (which admittedly someone had to do so I shouldn’t be too derisive of poor Oscar, dear chap) stands as an allegory for the choices that upright Christians must necessarily make between the left and right paths and suchlike – it is allegory, and metaphor, and as somebody who loves writing (note I didn’t say ‘good writing’) this interests me deeply.
Re-presentation on the other hand – and this is a purely personal distinction in terms – is when something is taken from it’s natural state (indeed, it’s original presentation) and re~presented by an outside agency as an original artefact, realistic and whole – think of how different contentious (or merely targeted) demographics have been promoted by their detractors – this also intrigues me, though I feel that somehow it is necessary to differentiate these terms, they are problematic in that each shades to the other, but identifying the extremes is nevertheless a worthwhile use of intellectual energy, even if it does lead to tone arguments and arbitrary distinctions.
The Photographic – the writing with light, or even Skiagraphic – writing with shadow (I have no idea how to format that sentence formally), is a fascination of mine also – this entails a whole spectra of options, from human vision to human failure of vision – to set arbitrary boundaries which are pseudobinaristic, but more properly merely a spectrum – I am fascinated by Light, Vision, Articulation, and the boundaries of my own senses. The Claude glass, and the infra spectral.
Sensory phenomena – not merely visual – I have hearing loss in a major way, though compensated otherwise, and work daily with a range of perception issues – some give me a sensory deficit, and some give me extra ordinary senses (as in more than usual, but they’re ordinary to me – colours glow complimentary in darkness (dimness?) for instance and I can track chocolate like a champion). Much of the video/audio work that I have done is along these lines. I still have no idea how to present smell adequately as a painting medium, despite having attempted and failed at this since circa 2000 – (the chocolate secret is all mine (my prechusss).
Yes, I am fascinated with the semantic, and the semiotic. these distinctions, when used thoughtfully can lead to a crystalline elegance in description – I appreciate the difficulty of stepping into this wavelength, but the elegance of distinction is more than worth it when I get it right – I know that a few people can follow what I say, even if many cannot, or perhaps simply cannot be bothered.
And media (see what I did there,? no?), I am simply in thrall of media, I love… not the stuff – as someone recently stated, but, what can be done with the stuff (‘stuffness’ is not a real word btw). Camera’s are neat, but so are paint brushes, and they’re a damn sight easier to learn how to make. I have a lot of media which I will draw from. I like physicality, both in art media, but also in myself and the world at large – from the martial arts I have done, I would say that the most important thing I’ve learned is where my body ends and the world begins – the extent of my influence as it were. My body, my art, what i make, and what i leave behind – these are important in terms of the trace i leave. Media is broad.
Though I am not entirely sure that identity politics (arguing them at least) is important, I am interested in how identity sits within the world. Personal, national, sexual, whichever. As a means of distinction this ties straight back into representation – and there we have a loop, already, after a mere seven hundred fifty odd words.
And I hope you know that my answer would be different tomorrow, cos my interests aren’t narrow at all – even if I am capable of focussing them rather sharply as need be.