Monday, May 03, 2010

May Day Colour Totem

May Day Colour Totem, originally uploaded by escher....

As I've got more and more into land art and have developed my own style with use of colour, lighting, positioning of the sculpture and selecting the natural setting in which to make, place and photo each creation, I've reached a point where I think everyone will doubt the authencity of what you see before you. Well it isn't true I tells ya!

Some of my more successful sculptures have been where time of day, the ambient light, the location and the artwork itself all came together better than I could imagine. Nearly always with these successes the final photograph requires no processing at all. The contrast and atmosphere is already punchy without me needing to adjust anything. I do very little to my pictures anyway and obsess about making sure that what is captured reflects how it was to be there. It is important to me that I try and transport the viewer to the place where the sculpture is and that they see it at its best and that it is clear that what you see is authentic, or else you may think that much of it is done in photoshop and then I feel my art would be devalued. So I put a lot of effort into choosing the right place and waiting for the right light at the right time of day.

While I was photographing this one I knew it would look good, the scudding clouds and dappled light can all produce nice results when the picture is taken at the right time.

Firstly I positioned it between two trees with a tree contrasted behind but when the sun returned the rear tree cast a perfect shadow along the entirety of the sculpture. I moved it a little to the left and then as soon as the sun hit it came alive. Leaves always do in strong light.

But when I got home and loaded up my photos I was struck by how surreal they looked and immediately thought "everyone's gonna think these are fake!"

All I did to these shots was sharpen and resize for Flickr, that's it - nada, nicht, nothing more. And about that I am as surprised as anyone!

First thing, we went out to collect leaves and to see what had grown more since last week. Nearly everything was growing now just the oak and poplar trees seemed to be lagging behind. Everywhere was full of birdsong, buzzing bees and tendrils reaching for the sun. Unlike yesterday, though, it seemed everyone else seemed to have got up early too and were already out walking their any-size pooches.

Dog watching is even more fun that people watching and it is true that owners do start to look like their dogs. And along with that I have to giggle at how owners talk to their dogs, never toning it down when in public either.

First we encountered an old lady emerge from a hedge, hands on hips and resplendent with a squeaky voice.

She was using her squeaky voice (imagine air escaping from a balloon) to scold her black lab by saying "oooh, he's so naughty, look he is doing it again, grrrrr!"

"Will you stop that, will you stop that, WILL YOU STOP THAT!!!"

She didn't seem at all perturbed that we were there, giggling at her indignance, posture and squeal, while the dog took absolutely no notice whatsoever. Tee hee!

Next two Afghan Hounds breezed past like two pairs of curtains flapping
next to an open window.

Following on was a Doberman and a Jack Russell puppy. No-one seems to have told Jack Russells that they are shorter than most dogs and I always imagine them barking out "come 'ere, I'll 'ave yer, I'll bite yer ankles, I'm not short I can have anyone!" and it was very amusing seeing him playing stick tug-o-war with the German attack dog.

Whilst bent over scooping up yellow leaves another black lab met me at face level, with wagging tail and what seemed to be a snarling growl. These two things seemed to be unmatched but my partner said "one of my friend's dogs does that, he is smiling!"

I'd never seen that before. The curled lip and the bared teeth was normally aggressive but this wiggly friendly fellow was grinning! I wanted
to take him home.

As I fussed over him along came his owner and he shouted "TREACLE! Don't jump up like that!"

I very nearly had a cardiac arrest as the shock of him shouting, as I was getting acquainted with "Treacle", was far worse than anything the dog might have done. Just like parents can't hear their own children in public it seems dog owners have a broken volume control when scolding their animals. Still, Treacle smiled at me once again, and went on his way.

As we followed behind them it struck me that choosing an appropriate name for your dog is very important. Shouting "TREACLE, come here, TREACLE don't eat that, and TREACLE stop humping that poor lady!" doesn't do a great deal for your street cred.


JuicyFig said...

wow - that photo has an etherial quality, lovely!

Re; dog watching - I find I have far more interesting conversations with my dog than with people sometimes - though she can be rather opinionated on certain subjects!


Richard Shilling said...

Indeed, they make far more sense than most people!

Thanks for stopping by.