Roger Newton: The DIY Lens Guy

One artist that really interested me is Roger Newton. He is a photographer who creates large abstract images and whose determination to create nonrepresentational work has lead him to create his own camera, lenses and film. He originally became interested in photography when he was attending art school in New York during the 1980s. It was during this time he discovered the pinhole camera and was at once drawn to the blurry and unpredictability of the images created. He would eventually go on to make numerous pinhole cameras eventually branching out to create lenses made of mineral oil, corn syrup, water, glycerin, or other refracting liquids. At one point taking a break from his photographic practice in order to research and develop the kind of black and white film he desired (Margarett, 2001). In his artist statement Newton goes to say that, “by designing and fabricating my own lenses I can control the quality of the light collected, the size and shape of the image field, and the colors in the scene. This allows me to work more directly with fundamental problems in the processes of seeing and perception, and ultimately the ontological problems of the thing and or scene depicted” (Foundation for Contemporary Arts, n.d.). He fabricates his photographs by layering up various liquid substances to create a lens. The lens purposely made to “exists out of the normal range of our visual faculties”. To reject standard photographic imaging systems and photography as a medium of representationalism. Instead focusing on the optical experience of looking.

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It is Newtons rejection of photo-representalism and focus on the methods of imaging making that interests me when looking at my own idea for the final project. The reason I say this is because for this project I will be continuing my role as art researcher, and focusing on unearthing photographic practices; removing all subjective interpretations and limiting definitions. Instead focusing on the facts, presently that means understanding photography as the use and manipulation of light to maintain an image. An image which as author and curator Lyle Rexler points out isn’t always based on realism (Rexer, 2013) . With this definition in mind I intend to conduct several experiments ones which like Newton’s will circulate around methods of light manipulation to produce what can be describe for all intensive purposed as undisclosed images. Always keeping in mind my definition of photography and excluding anything from this experiment which would distract or hinder it. A second reason I am interested in Newtons work is that his use of liquids to create lenses has given me another possibility to consider in my own experimentation and manipulation of light for this project. Other methods/ elements I’m looking at include (but not limited to); types of light sources, the chemical composition of types of light and things that give off light, Photographic paper manipulation, reflection/ refraction, filtered light, aperture, shutter speed/ exposure, light wave lengths, energy, Inference of light.

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References

Foundation for Contemporary Arts. (n.d.). Roger Newton. Retrieved from Foundation for   the Contemporary arts web site:       http://www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/recipients/roger-newton

Margarett, L. (2001, June 8). Photography Review; Reinventing the lens for large   abstraction. The New York Times.

Rexer, L. (2013). The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography. New York:   Apature.

Additional Sources

https://collectordaily.com/the-edge-of-vision-abstraction-in-contemporary-photography-aperture/

http://www.lpwalliance.com/publication/43/

http://www.photoeye.com/BookteaseLight/bookteaselight.cfm?catalog=TR222&image=1

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Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz is a brazilian artist and photographer who has a background as a sculptor. His art pieces are generally made with non traditional materials within photography which create that sculptural component within his images. He usually works in series and his images range from being constructed of thread, chocolate syrup, garbage et. His goal is to create bold, ironic and deceiving imagery that references pop culture, art history or political comments. His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide.

Muniz often works in large scale format but then destroys the originals of his work so the only thing that is left is photographic evidence. He uses his photography as documentation because it creates the vantage point in which mimics the way he saw the piece in the first place. He has spoken of an interest in making these pictures so that “reveal their process and material structure”, of the artwork he makes.

Two works of interest are his Earthworks series and Waste Land. In his Earthworks series, it resembles what the movement did in the 1970s in relation to doing on location type work however, he brings forth cultural and historical references within the images like the Nazca lines from the Inca Civilization in Peru.

In Waste Land, the documentary presents men and woman who pick through garbage as an occupation. He tries to take this act of garbage-picking and assemblage of recycling and turns art into a more accessible experience through the use of common materials. His belief being, the art world should not be just for the elite. He states in the documentary that, “at this point in my career where I’m trying to step away from the realm of fine arts because I think it’s a very exclusive, very restrictive place to be. What I want to be able to do is to change the lives of people with the same materials they deal with every day.”

Two elements that I wish to take from Muniz’s M.O. are addressing the human impact with nature and with things or situations that people see or deal with every day. I want to demonstrate human impact whether it is subtle or extreme. I think that with people interacting with their environment is one thing but the impact with other people is a lot fiercer and apparent in modern day society. This demonstrate of every day common gestures or materials can be as simple as a cell phone or a tree, or as complicated as the food that we eat and throw away.

 

Sources and Links:

http://vikmuniz.net

http://www.wastelandmovie.com

http://www.arndtfineart.com/website/artist_1147?idx=m

http://www.instagram.com/vikmuniz/

http://www.artspace.com/vik_muniz

 

Micheal Paul Smith

About The Artist:

Micheal Paul Smith is an artist whose work concerns small toys in the place of real life objects, therefore, making realistic scenes through the use of plastic toys and thoughtful placement. He then photographs these scenes in a way that makes them look very convincing. He makes these photographs by creating a 1:24 scale ratio to recreate everyday scenes from the mid 20th century to -mid 60s America.

How did it begin?

Smith started off with an interest in making scale models of objects as well as an interest in photography. This combination later grew into something magical. He used his sculptural skills and photography skills to create convincing photographs of olden day scenes. Smith wanted to recreate the town in which he grew up in which was a town in America in the 20th century to mid 60s. His work is not an exact replica of the town he grew up in but it does what he wants it to do and that is to create the feeling of the town he grew up in and bring back his childhood memories.

How is it made?

The buildings are constructed of resin-coated paper, styrene plastic, and basswood, plus numerous found objects. The vehicles are from Michael’s collection of 300+ commercially produced, diecast models.

These photographs were all made through the use of placement. No Photoshop was used in these images; they’re all composed in the camera. He refers to it as  the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background, then photographing it.

How does his work relate to my work?

I am interested in a similar idea that Smith uses within his work. For my final project I am interested in taking recognizable items/objects, constructing a sculpture and then using photography to make the objects look like much more then they really are. Through photography I will change the reality of the object so it is seen as something different then what it is seen as in person. This relates to Smith’s work because he builds structures and then uses photography to change the structure he built into realistic photographs of a fictional town.

Progress photos vs final photos :

 

His Links:

https://vimeo.com/116577464

http://blog.flickr.net/en/2013/10/04/crafting-scenes-of-iconic-americana/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/24796741@N05/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/automobiles/collectibles/14SCALE.html

http://hooniverse.com/2010/03/10/mps-interview-pt1/

 

Tim Knowles

Tim Knowles is a contemporary artist that works in a range of media from photography, video, drawing and light Installations. His work is process oriented and relies heavily on chance. The artist makes his work through the environment and the use of tools and/or mechanisms that he sometimes creates. His work tends to show a lot of emphasis on the recording of a journey or drift. Three of Knowles photographic series/works that provided inspiration was, ‘Night Walks’, ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ and ‘Full Moon Reflections’.

In Knowles series titled, ‘Night Walks’ he created what could be considered a undisclosed scene by illuminating a path at night leaving the rest in darkness. He does this by walking with three wide beam torches, which captures the trace of his journey. He managed to capture this journey with a camera and through long exposures creates a mapped trail of light. This concept of the camera as a tool to captures the environment in a way that would otherwise be impossible to see is interests. This concept is interesting because he uses light in a way that paints a picture. In this series, he does that literally by using a limited light source to only illuminate part of the landscape creating a map of his journey.

In Knowles work titled, ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ he once again focuses on the idea of tracking a journey. This time he does not use light to paint only particular part of the landscape, but instead uses the natural light provided to record his walk-through Mungo National Park. Knowles made this work by removing the lens from a camera and then turned it into a pinhole camera. He also used long exposers to capture motion and then cross-fades the images together creating what he refers to as a, “Turneresque impression of the journey”.

In Knowles series titled, ‘Full Moon Reflections’ Knowles again, like in ‘Night Walks’ and ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ uses long exposer to capture something in nature that would not be possible to see without the camera. This work shows something that is ordinary, something that people understand and at the same time creates this new perception of it through photography. This series presents the reflection of the moon on a slow even flowing body of water. This completely alters the reflection through movement and time into something that is unrecognizable. This is an import concept because it challenges the notion that photographs are thought of as a reproduction of reality. Even though these photographs present the moons reflection, the viewer is presented with something that is not recognizable as the moons reflection. It is instead a trace of the moon distorted by reflection, movement, light and time. The result is a photography that presents the viewer with an image of a common theme recorded in a way that give the viewer a new visual experience.

By using the camera through experimental processes such as long exposers and altering the physical aspects of the camera, Knowles can use the camera as a tool to capture scenes in nature that would be impossible to see otherwise. His photographic works are an inspiration because I am fascinated with the possibility to be able to capture photographs that present an image that is otherwise not visible through the human eye. For my final project, I am experimenting with the idea that light both creates and destroys images through long/multiple exposers. By using multiple exposer, I will be able to create single photographs that contain multiple images that begin to destroy themselves as they are being created. In relation to this concept I am attempting to create this record of daylight. Each photograph will be containing its own individual scene, but through multiple exposure I will be able to capture that scene multiple times at different times of the day.

Anthony Rietze

Links

http://www.timknowles.co.uk/Home/tabid/262/Default.aspx

https://vimeo.com/230134604

Experiment #1 Artists


RESOURCES ABOUT COLOUR and ARTISTS

 

Go here. It’s an amazing resource of artists.

OR, HERE TO THIS GREAT web-based component to a larger MOMA exhibition about reinventing color

Yves Klein | TATE Modern | MOMA


Go here. It’s an amazing resource of artists.

OR, HERE TO THIS GREAT web-based component to a larger MOMA exhibition about reinventing color

Yves Klein | TATE Modern | MOMA

 

Sophie Calle | Chromatic Diet | Explanation about the project

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JESSICA EATON

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Jessica Eaton | Interview in The Believer | Her personal blog | Her professional site (click on galleries to access images) | Interview in Canadian Art | Good list of interviews
Lenscraft:Jessica Eaton Asks Us to Think About What We See

This following text is from various interviews with Eaton, published or referenced from her blog.

“She was aware of the science of light at work even in what she calls “normal” photographs, aware that subject and content buried those phenomena, preventing viewers from seeing what was there. In 2006, her work shifted and she began to bring those hidden elements to the forefront. She isolated light and color and time, even though to do so was to challenge the classical definition of photography as a way to capture a single moment.

“Using a wide array of experimental, analogue-based photographic techniques such as colour separation filters, multiple exposures, dark slides and in-camera masking Jessica Eaton builds images on sheets of 4×5 film that address fundamental properties of photography such as light, chance, duration, illusion and spatial relations.  Eaton has written: “I often set up parameters for phenomena to express itself. In the best of cases I push things so that the response comes in ways that I could not have thought up until I was shown it on film. Once you get to see or experience something you can use it. Then you can use it to see something else.”

A quote from a TIME magazine article:

“Canadian photographer Jessica Eaton uses her camera to create color invisible to the naked eye. She gives bright hues to gray forms in her series Cubes for Albers and LeWitt, and that work was recently awarded the photography prize at the 2012 Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography—a prize for which TIME’s director of photography Kira Pollack sat on the jury.

Jessica Eaton

“We’ve all mixed two colors of paint together, and either it makes another color or, if you keep going, it gets muddy and progressively gets darker,” she explains. “In light, things work really differently.” Eaton explains that she exploits the properties of light through additive color separation: whereas the primary pigment colors (red, blue, yellow) get darker as they blend, the primary colors of light (red, blue, green) move toward white. Eaton applies filters in those three colors to her camera and takes multiple exposures, a process that turns the gray form seen here into the vibrant ones seen above. “The color itself is mixed inside the camera,” she says.

One of the byproducts of Eaton’s process is an element of surprise: because her images are created within the camera, she doesn’t know what she’ll get until the photos are developed. “It’s a bit of a conversation with the world,” she says. “With the forces of time and space and contingency and errors that happen, because often there’s so many steps going into one of these, I get back something that’s also new to me, and those are the pictures that tend to end up in exhibits.”

But the photographer likes challenging definitions, and not just photographic ones. Although she dislikes the term “abstract” as a description of her work—it implies that the light she captures doesn’t exist in reality—Eaton says that her photographs acknowledge “how incredibly limited our ability to perceive the world is.” We lack the sensory mechanisms to see her colors with our naked eyes, and Eaton sees that as a metaphor for our inability to see the extent of the physical universe, whether it includes multiple dimensions or parallel universes. And, in that metaphor, she sees hope. “I love the idea that no matter how bad it gets,” she says, “there’s this wild so-called reality way beyond what we have decided it is.”

Atira Frankel – Final Project Research

Interest: Abjection, Intervention, Identity/Psychology

Inspirations:

Alexa Meade
Takes the 3D world and transforms it into a 2D painting.

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“Blueprint” (2010)

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“Activate” (2012)

 

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“Risen in progress” (2012)

Website: Alexa Meade
Instagram: @alexameadeart

Jo Spence
Photo-Therapy and The Picture of Health? are both series responding to her cancer diagnoses. Narrative, confrontation, and self-identification are prominent characteristics in her work.

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“Photo-Therapy” (Infantilization – Mind/Body) (1984)

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“The Picture of Health?” (1982-86)

Website: Jo Spence

Richard Renaldi 
His Touching Strangers series has a unique take on the intimacy between two individuals, who have never met, but appear to be cohesive in the photograph through invitation of chance.

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“Tim, Alaina, and Charlie” (2012)

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“Chris and Amaira” (2012)

Website: Touching Strangers Series