Some time ago friends of mine at Still Cellars Distillery asked if I would like to put together some materials for a show. The first time around in college I was focused on fine arts. The second time was in CompSci, focused on animation and visualization. Those were the last times that I worked on a series of images that could be called a ‘unified concept’. So, after 20 years of not thinking of those terms, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could get back in that mindset.
Lost in the Garden
The night that I installed my Dead Things at the distillery I was talking with a friend about imagery. He mentioned that he would like to have some similar style images that would be suitable for hanging in an office space. Unfortunately, piles of bones don’t quite fit into the modern start-up atmosphere, no matter how progressive they may be. That got me thinking about extrapolations and how to approach the same thought process with a more… acceptable subject.
I decided to try flowers. I didn’t want to cheap out and do some generic Mapplethorpe looking flowers, but something that was slightly… wrong.
Nothing to See Here
For a long time I have loved looking at nothing. Not in some nihilistic ‘Nothing is worth looking at, Man… ‘ frame of mind, but from the perspective that, really, not every view is a good one, and that is kind of cool in of itself. Drive across Kansas. Or Utah. Or Oklahoma. Of course, 90% of it is worth sleeping through, but I find those boring parts quite interesting, as being human we are always trying to absorb information through our sight–and sometimes there really isn’t anything worth looking at.
This is in the early conceptual phase, and no where near complete.
I Ain’t Twombly
Somewhere around 1994 I went to the MMA and saw an exhibit of some of Cy Twombly‘s collected works. I was surrounded by other arts students that poo-poo’ed the collection–people sneered and looked down at it. Around that time I was drawing nudes at weekly sessions, looking at classical structure and form, and all the ‘serious’ art student programs you would expect.
For me, that Cy Twombly exhibit was a game changer. Yeah, I knew intrinsically that I would never really operate at that level of color and shape, but DAMN. It opened up a whole new world for me. I tried different paintings and drawings in the style, but it never really clicked, and I never got enjoyment out of it. Once I started playing with a camera I started to have more fun with not representing things.
I really like to do product photos. No, it’s not the most adventurous thing out there, but there is a process in trying to illustrate a bottle, a burger, or even a gun in the best way possible that I find enjoyable.
I have a certain philosophy with products, and especially food shots: I will only take a picture of the actual thing as the customer expects. No “McDonald’s crap” where there is no way you are getting the picture seen on the menu in your paper bag. I don’t want to be lied to, and I won’t do it to others. Real pictures of the real thing only.