Tuesday, September 08, 2009

From Windows To Walls

Since the start of making my digital artworks I've been progressively going bigger. I'm currently working on an image that is 30 x 20 some inches but I still feel that is too small for the detailed works that I make.

I've been thinking about digital cameras and how they take such small images. Most of the newest, more expensive "good" digital cameras still only have a resolution range of 15 - 17 megapixels. But then there are the large format cameras, capable of 100 megapixels. The digital versions are far too expensive, most cost that of a new car. But the traditional large format camera, that seems like the answer to this riddle since it is a reasonable price. Taking a photograph with a large format camera, having that film developed, then scanning that film into the computer, that appears to be the answer for me to get vast photographs to work with and make the gigantic imagery I want to create.. in the future at least. I intend to set up scenes with models and props to help sketch out the composition in the real world before fleshing it out in the digital realm.

I look forward to pursuing this old technology with the new technology to push my art to the next level in the coming decade. I'm sure it will help emphasize the theatricality of the imagery I intend to create. But most of all, the biggest objective in the art is to turn it from a small window into my imagination, into a larger wall sized space, a portal that the viewer will be able to seemingly fall through.

There is a great article on low cost large format cameras and related equipment here.

4 comments:

SEAN ÄABERG said...

Fantastic idea & a good way to up the "art" quotient of your work. Tally ho. I can't wait to see where this leads.

Human Mollusk said...

I used a Kiev (a Hasselblad replica) for a while several years ago, back when it still made sense to develop your own black and white prints, and the resolution compared to the now equally defunct 35mm material was absolutely gorgeous.

However, personally I'm always a bit weary of artists, especially photographers, going for grotesquely enormous print sizes only to make their stuff seem more important. A good image is a good image no matter what size. In your case though I can see why going bigger would make sense, your art being as densely detailed as it is. The "window vs. portal" argument sounds like a valid one. I sure hope I'll be able to fall into one of those "portals" of yours in real life one day! ( as opposed to only seing the results on my comparatively tiny computer screen)

I'm a bit confused though. I was under the impression that so far all your collages were made up out of other people's artifacts (mostly photos I take it). Are you saying you are going to take your own photos not? Won't that make the process even more time consuming?

Aeron said...

Thanks Sean, and Fufu, I know what you mean about artists blowing up the size of their art to make it seem more important. But you're exactly right, the larger size, for me, is to emphasize the densely detailed scenes, to let people actually see that stuff without having to squint in some square inch section of an image

My desire to go big is probably a direct result of seeing an amazing retrospective of Cindy Sherman's photography at the Contemporary Museum of Art in Chicago about ten years ago. Much of her photography wasn't just big, it was the size of buses, some prints took up entire walls, it was insane. It really changed the experience of seeing the art, like going from watching a movie at home to experiencing it in a big imax theater. It's always been a goal of mine but I think I can really start reaching that goal over the next few years.

And regarding taking my own photos. 90 percent of all photos I use are found at places like the library of congress, high res macro photos of weird textures from flickr, places like that. I don't expect to break from that anytime soon but intend to start taking more of my own photos to beef up my collection of resource imagery. The objective though of the large format photography is to hopefully make the process less time consuming. I think by setting up a scene with physical props and models posed in, loosely, the scenes I want for the final composition, I can spend less time on creating from scratch these scenes.

For me, the giant high res photo of the models and props would function like a glorified underpainting, onto which I can create the composition more effectively. And the advantage of this sort of underpainting, I could shoot it with a variety of lighting effects, poses, props, and rearrange things digitally while the image progresses. It's all theory right now but I think and hope that it will be a much more effective and productive way of making my digital art.

I have some really exciting but very difficult, and dangerous, photographs in mind. One example, a vintage automobile crashing into a pile of bodies, dummies in halloween masks perhaps. The dummies would be altered digitally to become more, grotesque freakish figures. The physical effects of the impact would be really difficult to visualize, so a high res photo of something like this to go from would be very useful.

Human Mollusk said...

Thanks for explaining, Aeron.
Using a hi-res photo as an "underpainting" and the collaging ontop of it makes a lot of sense.