Eastern Perspectives

In the first half of the last decade in the previous century I was in Prague for six weeks and naturally I visited the few galleries exhibiting photographs. Having recently thrown of the stupefying effects of foreign occupation, photography in Czechoslovakia was in the process of realigning itself with western style aesthetics; however, it had not historically had the same love affair with small format street photography that America had had.

The focus was on medium or large format pieces that explored the intrinsic beauty of the everyday, the tonal ranges between black and white and the way light creates form and dimension in a picture.

Both simple and complex at the same time, they tend to be quiet and meditative. Totally at odds with the freneticism of modern photography.

I have retained a long and enduring love for this type of work -, so much that when I once again picked up my larger format film camera, it was almost a fait accompli that I would begin with this style.

Bronica SQA, 80mm, 1/2sec, +1 filter, Classic Pan 200asa (10 years out of date) developed with Adox Rodinol, diluted 1/50 for 12 minutes

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Dreaming White/Malevich Revisited


I awoke one morning after a restless night, weary from lack of sleep but enthused with energy from an idea that had occurred during the period when you’re not asleep and not awake. The idea was to shoot a predominantly white picture, or if I could, a totally white picture and make it interesting.

Everything varies from the point of conception to the finished product as the idea evolves and congeals into a solid thing.

The results from this initial point of departure became a series of pictures entitled easily enough, The Flower Series.

Today’s offering is titled Difference, and most people seem to think the title is directed at the red rose, that the picture is a metaphorical reference to race. I have no problem with this interpretation but it isn’t what I intended. Leaving the comfortable but narrow confines of the collective, sets one flower more apart than colour, after all they are all roses, but one is trying its luck alone.

A 90cmx60cm print of this hangs from one of our walls. Massively larger than life, the picture is quietly beautiful, and I can rarely look at it without wondering where that errant flower will end up.

A simple setup of two lights with large soft-boxes, one directly on the background to ensure it will be pure white, and the other in front of the flowers at ten o’clock high on camera right side. A large DoF was necessary to ensure all the flowers were in focus. ­­The vase holding the flowers was easily removed with the eraser tool in Photoshop.

 

70-200mm, f14, 1/125sec, ISO100