I love writing a New Moon email each month, because it forces me into the studio to create more art. Its a discipline that frees me. Since the New Moon is tomorrow, I spent yesterday creating new work.
First, I played around with some images from the Botanical Gardens which I took back in March. There weren’t a whole lot, it was a quick hike with a friend of mine from Atlanta. The original files were taken with my new Olympus Tough point and shoot camera, which I purchased to use in wet situations (its waterproof) and out and about with friends, when I don’t want to lug around my DSLR.
The result? Below:
Once I finished this kaleidoscope, a challenge presented itself to me. I have learned that good composition keeps the eye moving around the entire image, when the eye reaches the edge of an image, there is an element to move it back into the image area. In creating kaleidoscopes and fractal images, I have also found that the more successful images have a light center as opposed to a dark or black center, because a dark center creates a “falling into a black hole” sensation. However, light draws the eye over darker areas, so I end up with compositions that are center weighted, where the eye goes to the center of an image and stays there, no matter how hard one tries to roam.
So, methinks, what happens if I put a very light, high key area in the center of one of my kaleidoscope blocks, and let the center of the kaleidoscope itself be a more midrange color? Not black, but medium gray let’s say. And I also wanted to create another black and white kaleidoscope.
I realized, in creating the black and white images, that black and white adds another layer of abstraction to an image. All images I take are highly subjective, although each is of a literal object. That I choose to notice, and photograph one object over another creates the subjectivity. And then my style and method of taking the image adds another layer of subjectivity. Slicing and dicing and collaging my images in photoshop takes my fairly literal color images and abstracts them. Taking out the color of the original files abstracts them yet again.
For my experiment in composition I headed to the river, since water often reflects light and creates light areas in places that would be medium to dark gray were the images of land. I first landed on the pictures of the Cawtawba River in Morganton, NC, taken back in early spring. And—Wow.
This image set the bar, and it was a high one. I wanted all the images I chose for the kaleidoscope to pack the same amount of punch as this one. First, I had to translate it into black and white.
That done, I needed to select 4 more pictures or so. None of the other images of the Cawtawba River Valley worked for me, so I went back to February, and a walk I took with my mother at the Botanical Gardens. Here I found the rest of my material.
I chose this one of the trees growing in the swamp as there were lots of lines combined with a light ground, due to the sun reflecting off the water of the wetlands.
Grasses against Water I chose for the delicacy of the grasses and its high key.
The combination of a high key background and strong lines drew my eye to this image. But I still needed a filler.
This image, half light, half dark, I decided to allow it to be the exception that breaks the rule, instead of a light point, I would let the dark side be the point in the center of the kaleidoscope block. After selecting and converting these images to black and white I built the kaleidoscope block.
Now all that remained was to build the kaleidoscope itself from the block. This involved watching a lot of progress bars, and the finished piece was so big photoshop wouldn’t save it, so I had to throw away half the pixels. No worries, I can still print a 40″ x 40″ print should I so choose.
And success! A kaleidoscope whose center doesn’t trap the eye. Lots of lines and light areas to keep the eye moving about the image. But, and y’all should know this about me, I wasn’t satisfied. I really liked the way the Tree’s Elbow image worked in the kaleidoscope, but the Grasses against Water image got completely lost. And I was curious, if I didn’t allow the Rippled Rock image to be the exception that proves the rule, and kept the center of the block all light light gray, what would happen. Well, this happened:
More negative space in this image adds interest, and the Tree’s Elbow keeps the eye roaming with the strong lines. I lightened up the River Sandbar image, and added another. Those changes are below.
Let me know which image you like the best in my comments section!