Sunday, April 19, 2009

Color Without Form...

I was out photographing a few Sundays ago and ended up at the Scottsdale Civic Plaza. There is this tree trunk in front of the brushed steel surface of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art that I wanted to photograph in black & white with the 8x10" camera. I made my exposure and then thought about how beautiful the Civic Plaza, or Mall as they call it, is. They have sculptures, fountains, grass and flower beds. In particular, pansies. I have loved pansies since I was a small child. My grandfather always grew the most beautiful pansies. Their colors are pure and strong.

So I went back to the car and switched cameras to the 4x5" and brought color film with me. I set up to try and do some close ups of the pansies. However, with the limited depth of field I was getting, and the gentle breeze that was making the flowers move, I became frustrated. Better to do these in the studio under controlled lighting. Then I took my glasses off for a minute to rub my eyes. Things were blurry as I was looking at the flower beds... but they looked beautiful. So, I went back to the camera and deliberately threw it way out of focus and started panning for compositions. I was amazed at how pure the colors are when you don't have to worry about form. I made one exposure to see how it would turn out.

It turned out rather nicely, I think, so I want to do a series in this style, printed very large on watercolor paper. I know people will say "All you did was blur it in Photoshop." Then I can show them the chrome and they can see for themselves. I really did look for the composition after I had de-focused on the ground glass. It is kind of gimmicky, which seems to be what curators, judges, and critics want these days (that's for another discussion)... who knows? And, as one day everything will look like this to me, why not get used to it now :^)

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