Sunday, April 20, 2014

once upon a time...

Once upon a time, before there were nasty apps and automatic one-touch filters, mankind wrestled interesting visual effects from his images by lengthy processes of hands-on experimentation.

Yesterday, while digging through my photography drawer, I came across some old b&w photography lens filters and my old Waltex magnifier.

How to make images 1 & 2: First, take a red lens filter (darkens sky in b&w photography, lightens skin tones, but not in colour photography). Look out your front windows on a rainy day. Point your digital camera at the view through the red filter. Take photo. Second, take a green lens filter (lightens foliage in b&w photography, but not in colour photography). Repeat.

How to make images 3 & 4: First get in your car (or your brother's car) and drive all the way to Whanganui. Drive up the Whanganui River road to the settlement of Jerusalem (where James K Baxter used to live). Stop and get out in the pouring rain. Wander onto the covenant grounds. Take photo with your Russian-manufactured Lomo analogue film camera (which you bought on ebay from the Ukraine) of statue of Mary looking heavenward into the overcast sky. Shoot it onto slide film. Go home and have slides developed. Over ten years later, rediscover your Waltex magnifier. Get out your old 35mm slides and select photo of Mary. In one hand, hold the magnifier and slide together. With the other hand press the lens of your digital camera up to the magnifier view-finder. Take pictures.

Tips for image 3: embrace the dust spots - they look like stars.

Tips for image 4: achieve the green tint by pointing the magnifier, slide and camera at the green foliage outside your kitchen window.

 (Click em to see em larger.) 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

stations of the cross 2014

Another little Stations of the Cross exhibition at church this year. This time I'm doing Station XIII - 'Jesus is taken down from the cross'.

My concept came from noticing the red leaves that were falling from a tree in our backyard. In the northern hemisphere, Easter coincides with Spring, which fits the resurrection motif rather nicely - new life emerging from the dead earth. But in the southern hemisphere, Easter occurs in Autumn, seasonally fitting with the death and falling motif. So fallen leaves were a material that was close at hand for this piece.

Death and resurrection are woven into the fabric of nature. Nature pays tribute to the death and resurrection of its Creator.

Trees have long been associated with the cross and Christ is often said to have been hung on a 'tree' (the tree being a metaphor for the wooden cross, relating to the Old Testament statement, 'cursed is he who is hung upon a tree').

So my piece is of a bare tree, having shed its 'life', its leaves which turn red in the process of dying and falling - a metaphor of Christ dying on the cross - where they lay scattered on the ground. I then gathered them up off the dirty ground and placed them in a pure white bowl as a kind of offering, in a way that relates to Christ's body being poured out as an offering and being gathered up for burial. The picture of the bare tree and its offering of shed blood-red leaves appear together in the station.

My 2012 and 2013 stations are here and here.