constructed # 6 / diptych # 217 ~ there and back again

big city cat nap ~ (embiggenable)

country store ~ (embiggenable)

In yesterday's entry I mentioned the cruel radiance of what is and my failure to have any of my submitted pictures selected for 2 juried exhibitions. The topics are closely related but let's start with the following 2 juror's statement from both of the exhibitions:

The images selected for this exhibition are poetic, evocative, and deeply interpretive. They masterfully capture some of the spirit of their subjects, rather than simply telling us what things look like ...
... in the case of the image that won the juror’s award, (a) construction of a magical vision that does not exist outside the mind of the artist.

In both of these statements, the juror's bias against pictures which are "simply telling us what things look like", is quite clear. In the first juror's statement it is also quite clear, upon viewing the selections, that "deeply interpretive" means pictures which clearly exhibit the application of effects which are intended to elicit a manufactured, in the words of the second juror, "magical vision that does not exist outside the mind of the artist."

As a counterpoint to those juror statements, consider this call for entries for an exhibition into which one of my pictures was selected:

As juror for this exhibit, what am I looking for in an image? In a word: everything. I want to see well designed photographs that have depth, strong structure, good light—and within them a spark of life ... What don’t I want to see? Images that are contrived, forced, synthetic or derivative. Images where software or hardware have made the picture.

The primary difference in the former vs the latter quotes is, iMo, rather simple. The first 2 quotes were made by juror's who could properly labeled as artists who use the medium of photography to create their interperative art expressions whereas the latter qoute was made by a photographer who uses the medium of photography to make photographs.

In a very real sense, this dichotomy is nothing more than a redux of the Pictorialists vs. Group f/64. The Pictorialists were focused on moving away from the early perception of photography as a merely mechanical means of reproducing what was pictured whereas Group f/64 wanted to promote a modernist aesthetic that was based on highly detailed images of natural forms and found objects.

Let me be perfectly clear ... I am not writing that either of these approaches to making pictures is superior or inferior to the other. What I am writing is that they are two entirely different kettles of fish.

The (let's call them) New Pictorialists are, like their earlier counterparts, dedicated to deconstructing a photographic image into an interpretive construction of something that does not exist outside of the mind of its creator. The Modernist Group f/64 practioners, much like their earlier counterparts, are dedicated to making photographs which deal in the coin of the cruel reality of what is realm.

As I have written, I am firmly rooted in the Modernist (or is it Post Modernist) Group f/64 so the chances any of my pictures being selected for an exhibition which is being jurored by a New Pictorialist are slim to none. It has happened but those times were exceptions which proved the rule.

constructed # 1-4 ~ acts of the imagination

I received a call for entries for an exhibition with the theme Balck & White. Upon checking out the call, I found this:

For this exhibition we are looking for work that tells a story, recites a poem, or simply gives beauty to the viewer, without significant use of the color spectrum.

While I have number of B&W pictures which I believe qualify, re: simply gives beauty to the viewer, the fact is, in my picture making I do not try to tell a story or recite a poem. However, while I could submit those gives-beauty pictures, I discovered upon further investigation that the juror is a very committed devote of constructed B&W pictures.

Consequently, I am working on creating a number of constructed pictures which address the juror's picture making prejudice. And truth be told, I enjoy creating such pictures. Not only is there the technical challenge of seamlessly putting together the bits and pieces sourced from various pictures, there is also the challenge of creating pictures which convey a sense of mystery, sureality and strangeness.

Do such pictures tell a story? No, I don't believe a picture can tell a story or have a narrative of any kind. That written, I do believe a photograph can be an instigating source of endless speculation and conjecture. That a photograph can evince a mood or a feeling that can have an affect on a viewer which leads him/her to create their own story or narrative. Think of a photograph as a rorschach test of sorts.

In any event, these pictures are a work in progress. They may be altered and there may more pictures. I have nearly 3 weeks before the submission deadline.

FYI, I do not consider these pictures to be photographs. They are illustrations / works made using the tools of the medium of photography and its apparatus.