“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print is the performance” – Ansel Adams
After the process of taking the shot (or better, of making a ‘photo-graph’), intellectually and technically, for many of us the whole act stops as soon as the image is in the camera / computer – visible on the monitor.
The next exciting and important step is making the print with all its difficulties and rewards. To make the print is the other half of photography, previously as chemical darkroom work and now as digital editing and the inkjet print. The perfectly executed print, including choice of paper and presentation, means going all the way and transforms your creativity and expression into something that’s real, something you can touch or hang on a wall.
But going even one step further, is selecting a series of prints suitable for exhibition or publication. One of the first thoughts is a subject (not to confuse with subject-matter or object), meaning a theme that combines the selected images as a body of work, as opposed to a bunch of varying, pretty postcards. Another concern would be the presentation – in which way the prints are mounted and displayed, framed and matted (or not), even the room, ambience, lighting and wall colour.
I came across images from an earlier exhibition I had under the title “Views From The Edge” – It deals, in a few words, with my experiences and visions at the water’s edge, the connectedness of views up, down, or abroad, and especially with the visual transformation of solid matter into liquid matter – in the way objects liquefy and distort when reflected in water. Through this process the original identity is lost and opens new worlds of shape, colour and texture. Here, instead of using mat & frame, prints are mounted on large panels. Many are diptychs or triptychs, combinations of two or three related prints, emphasizing their connection with intertwining borders. The group of eight similar, more realistic images titled ‘Longing’ makes a series, or sub-group, by itself.
A quick note to ‘concept’ and ‘conceptual’.
The idea ‘view from the edge’ and its execution and description as a theme, is of course also a concept, as could be almost anything – techniques, format, choice of colour, presentation or subject matter, but should not be confused with the rather hip and grossly overused term ‘conceptual art’, where the message, mostly sociopolitical, is the art – where the actual work or piece, often of rather mediocre impact and quality, is reduced to a carrier for another purpose – where lack of artisitic creativity is replaced by hip and political statements. (see No Message)
As mentioned in earlier articles, I’d like to emphasize that for me the image always comes first and that concepts, or better themes, are entirely based on visual qualities. When creating the image, my only concern is the visual impact – period. Putting together a body of work, or theme, that might be suitable material for an exhibition is a subsequent act, including switching images or even changing the whole theme or title later.
There will be more images posted under this topic in the coming weeks.
There is more info here: ‘Description of Work‘ – ‘Curator’s Statement‘ – ‘Image Gallery‘
Klaus Rossler © copyright
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