Photographic Distortions

pinhole_portrait2

Today I produced a series of pinhole camera photographs. I am very interested in
pushing the mediums of analogue and digital to produce abstractions or effects
that remove information rather than add detail. This is about the erasure of detail,
the creation of gaps to loosen the image, to create images that slip and slide.

In all of the images, the effects have been achieved in camera, rather than
through the use of photoshop. I am looking for ways to manipulate through
natural means to create unusual perspectives and abstractions.

The Pinhole Photographs

Pinhole_portrait1

pinhole_landscape1 pinhole_portrait3

There is still a great deal of work to be done and it’s still not clear if the still or
the moving image presents more opportunities for experimentation.
It’s been a long time since I was in a darkroom and I can’t help but feel
that I should be working in colour rather than producing black & white images.
After a meeting with my Phd supervisor the other day, one thing stood out,
a factor that has influenced the production of a lot of my photographs.
My Phd supervisor commented that many of my images were about the
‘before and after’, that there was often an element of transformation
or a sense that time had passed.

hiroshima_web

This observation makes a lot of sense, some of the very first images I ever saw
were souvenir photographs of the bombing of Hiroshima featuring before and
after transformations on many of the photographs. In an old shoebox, the
photographs of Hiroshima were mixed amongst photographs of family.

The people and places in the images always seemed so distant, the ageing skin
of the image told me that the pictures belong to a time outside of my own,
yet the images were charged with a power, they vibrated with an energy that
was somehow captured through the lens of the camera. A moment in time
that had not lost its potency through the act of mechanical reproduction.

The mobile phone also presents opportunities for experimentation. I have previously
explored the potential of low-res images (Order of Magnitude Photographs) and I
still believe that early model camera-phones can be used to for testing out ideas and
creating a wide range of effects. Not all camera-phones are the same, and early models
vary in their colour palette and image quality.

Mobile Photographs

Blue_skytrails

Image

I am currently using a Nokia N95, which often produces muted colours
which I find works particularly well for the types of images I like to
make. There is something almost primitive about this transformative
digital technology, it’s like using a box brownie to take an image.
I like the simplicity of use which frees me up to concentrate on the
subject of my photograph. It’s size means I am more like to be playful,
try new angles and different ways of composing an image.

I’m not sure what all this playing with basic cameras means, but for the
moment I will continue to make images and consider how elements of the
process and aesthetic may have potential value for both my Phd research
and creative practice.

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~ by Dean on February 4, 2013.

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