Photo Exploration: Rotten 2. December 2013.

This pho­to is (prob­a­bly) my favorite from my Rot­ten series.

Rotten 2

In this series I pho­tographed food that would oth­er­wise have been dis­card­ed. I pro­duced this work as a play on the tra­di­tion­al still life and a reflec­tion of my own habits.
I became frus­trat­ed with the amount of waste leav­ing my own home. At the same time I was enam­ored with col­ors and tex­tures that appeared when food, espe­cial­ly fruit, was left to rot. 

By tak­ing light­ing cues from the Old Mas­ters and uti­liz­ing bro­ken, dried, mold­ed or oth­er­wise unap­pe­tiz­ing pro­vi­sions as sub­ject mat­ter, I jux­ta­posed some of our tra­di­tion­al pre­sen­ta­tions of edi­ble beau­ty with our waste. 

This work also speaks to the lux­u­ry of my abil­i­ty to con­sid­er the scrap­ping of food when a great many com­mu­ni­ties can­not. Our con­tin­ued refine­ment of food pro­duc­tion enables us to have greater con­trol over appear­ances until it reach­es our home, but after­wards we eas­i­ly dis­card that which devel­ops an unpleas­ant appear­ance. Even if the food main­tains qual­i­ty, we will quick­ly dis­pose of that which looks unap­peal­ing. Grant­ed, some of the ele­ments used in this work were lit­er­al­ly dis­gust­ing, but much of the mate­r­i­al could have been eat­en or oth­er­wise reused with­out ill effect.

With this work I explore con­cepts of what is appeal­ing, suc­cu­lent and edi­ble while explor­ing my own stan­dards of that which sus­tains. This work ven­tures to bring the focus back to ordi­nary decay and nat­ur­al cycles. With the desire for clean­er, new­er, brighter, shinier or clear­er sub­stance we read­i­ly dis­card that which is still — or even more — beau­ti­ful once left to nature’s own processes

Photo Exploration: Orange|Blue Wall

This late after­noon image was made in Decem­ber 2011 with Provia 100f slide film. The sun was still bright but the year was draw­ing down and all the col­ors were start­ing to fade. Espe­cial­ly in Asheville, where once the fall leaves dis­ap­pear it can get rather dreary.

How­ev­er, this wall in the Asheville Riv­er Arts Dis­trict was a mas­sive anti­dote to the gray. Seem­ing imper­vi­ous to tem­per­a­ture or sur­round­ings, the wall stood (and stands) not with an active pur­pose, but maybe just with an iden­ti­ty. A bit of an unm­mov­ing block of col­or hold­ing court with itself. I had walked this neigh­bor­hood many times to get out from behind my desk and get a bit of fresh air, and although I had pho­tographed the wall with dig­i­tal and neg­a­tive col­or film, I had nev­er real­ly felt like I had made an image that was ful­ly present in both col­or and tex­ture. How­ev­er, this one last walk of the year I had slide film loaded and the time was right. 

One of the hard­est, for me, chal­lenges when shoot­ing an image like this is to get it all lined up prop­er­ly. Any tilt up/down or left/right will be very notice­able in the fin­ished image, and tak­ing care in the moment to true your lines pays div­i­dends lat­er. I think I still have a bit of ver­ti­cal mis­align­ment, with the top titled slight­ly away from the film plane, but over­all the wall and the film seem to line up pret­ty well. Expo­sure with the in-cam­era mech­a­nism, check focus and with a click the image is made. 

Orange|Blue Wall, Provia 100f. December 2011

Orange|Blue Wall, Provia 100f. Decem­ber 2011

I’ve dis­cussed the benefits/process of slide film before, espe­cial­ly regard­ing the view­ing of an image and see­ing the minia­ture world with­in. With this image the expe­ri­ence was near­ly tran­scen­dent. It was like hold­ing pure light, this amaz­ing trans­par­ent yet sol­id emul­sion of orange and blue. I am no way with Rothko’s tal­ent, but I imag­ine his won­der at a com­plet­ed col­or field paint­ing to be much the same as when I first held the devel­oped image above.

It was made with a Fuji GA645, quite a work­horse medi­um for­mat cam­era. If you aren’t famil­iar with one, think of a wide-angle rangefind­er with aut­o­fo­cus capa­bil­i­ty. Extreme­ly sharp ele­ments and very accu­rate meter­ing. It is a fun cam­era that I’ve used many times over.

This image is mean­ing­ful for two rea­sons — the first is that after many attempts with a sub­ject, I was final­ly able to find the right com­bi­na­tion of mate­r­i­al and process to get a sat­is­fac­to­ry image. The sec­ond rea­son is this pho­to­graph helped push my bound­aries a lit­tle bit. Remov­ing peo­ple, nature, and many extra­ne­ous items from the image I was pre­sent­ed with slight tex­ture and com­ple­men­tary colors.