S H Bean ~ Photographer

"…within the same space the real and the abstract"

Posts tagged ‘The Invisible Landscape’

‘On Traces’ and The Invisible Landscape

“The trace is the appearance of a nearness, however far removed the thing that left it behind may be.” (Walter Benjamin, AP, p. 447) Each retinal image should be understood as a photographic trace of the object in space and time, it is where a body in movement leaves a memory.

The profane shadow produces a latent un-fixed Image on the retina. It needs to be ‘developed’ before it can perceptually reveal its persistence.

As Ruskin noted: “the perception of solid form is entirely a matter of experience” (Sept 2014 blog) then the profane shadow in the Invisible Landscape is not fixed but latent, it can only be a succession of shapes over time that reveal their true perceptual persistence in a non-retinal form when we don’t look at them.

On Restricted Light

Much if not all of my color abstract work in ‘The Restricted Light Project’ follows Da Vinci’s detailed explanations found in his Codex especially those sections on Light and Shadows. His approach to Light was to categories it as follows; Light in the Open Country, Light of Luminous Bodies and Restricted Light. ( Paris C. J 111-116)

In Photography we further conclude that there are three basic qualities of Photographic Light, irrespective whether it is Light from the Open Country, Light from Luminous Bodies or Restricted Light. These qualities are: Quality, Color and Brightness (or Luminosity)

On Absurd External Realities in The Invisible Landscape – update

The Invisible Landscape is part of a body of work that has been developed as a result of my exploration of ‘Absurd External Realities’

Photography was once used to examine, explore and capture invisible events within in motion and action, I continue that tradition of exploration by using photography to question that which is still invisible, the density of cast shadows.

The human visual system offers us a very limited window to the world and its with this limited visual system we must create a reality of that world. The same applies to the technical limitations of Photography. My approach in this series is that there not just one window, but many, and therefor an infinite number of visual interpretation possible. In The Invisible Landscape series I am concentrating on external reality of cast shadows in the landscape and I have gone back to the basic questions that Artists have asked for centuries: how dark is the shadow?

This body of work is a reflection of the progress I have made over the last 7 years in exploring cast shadows. And as a result of this work it is my belief that cast shadows can only ever be, in the words of Maurice Merleau-Ponty : ‘objects of imminent visibility’ and like the latent image in a photographic negative they are never quite visible but rather ‘are always in a state of appearing’.

In conclusion the question ’how dark is the shadow’ can never be answered with any certainty and I must accept that there are an infinite number of possible conclusions to the question. All that is left for me to do therefore is to refuse to accept the limitations imposed by technology and the visual system that forces me to see them. All I can do is to continue to learn, to explore, to perceive such ‘objects of imminent visibility’. I find myself in a space confronted by the absurd external reality of ‘the discovery of appearances’ (Konrad Fiedler).

It is a space where I go to seek what I may never see.

Cast Shadows in the landscape

In this new body of work I am investigating the relationship of cast shadows and the landscape. Cast shadows allow me to construct visual planes or depth cues in the image, which in turn helps to highlight those raised regions that would otherwise not be perceived. At this point in time I am concerned with cast shadows and not form shadows and I have created a table listing key elements of a cast shadow and the number of possible combinations. This work reflects my visual interpretation of the profane (or the commonplace subject) and my attempts at revealing the invisible within it. In some ways I am just continuing the tradition in Art of seeking or understanding imminent visibility, that is everything especially the profane object holds.

Perfect results are infrequent and more often a complete failure.

Cast shadows (assuming the object is opaque) and their possible combinations (240) including light type:

Light type Length Edge Shading Color
Daylight Short Hard Light Neutral
Artificial Medium Diffused Grey Color
Mixed Long Black
Moonlight Abstract