Thursday, June 10, 2010

When Square can be a bit... Square.

As some of you have been kind enough to remind me =) I have neglected the website and this blog since late last fall. I have not, however, neglected my work. There are many new photographs to post and a good bit of writing as well.

My Little Things project has been my primary focus lately and we will begin again with that. Making these 2 1/4 contacts has proven to be a real challenge, due primarily to working with the new to me square format. As the shape of the picture space itself is neutral, it provides no real movement of it's own - no entry point, no release, no direction - that is left entirely to the artist. Over the last couple of years I have become comfortable with this, though as with anything else, I've discovered it's not always the best choice. Some visual elements simply cry out for a horizontal edge or a vertical gesture.

I was made even more aware of this a couple of weeks ago while looking through a stack of 'small prints' by Paula Chamlee. When photographs are printed at such a diminutive size the structure of the composition becomes more evident and, to my eyes, even more closely related to the borders. My next step seemed clear enough, it was time to start making small rectangular prints as well.

The above image is my first attempt. While texture is quite obviously the most important aspect, there is a gentle flow across the picture space which leads the eye from the top left to the bottom right corner and back again. This is made possible not only by the darker threads' relationships to each other, but also (and maybe even more so) through their interplay with the elongated top and bottom edges.

As an exercise, and partly to prove a point to myself, I have tried cropping the image to a square several different ways and with each attempt have found the result lacking in comparison to the original. I'll no doubt be viewing the ground glass a bit differently now and while my final decisions are largely intuitive I've also learned that once something is seen it is not so easily unseen.

And if you must know, it's light emanating through a lampshade.


G.Zuili said...

This is beautiful and very delicate Shawn. And no, I don't want to know it's a lampshade...
So much to imagine !

Shawn Dougherty said...

Thanks so much, G. When I was printing it reminded me of some of your textural lith prints! Glad you like.