Leiulf B Clausen – Art 131 Photo StoryTelling Assignment 3 – Games Without Frontiers.
This week we were given the task of shooting a 5-7 photo “Story” or a series based on a “unifying theme”.
Since my skill does not lie in photographing people, (no news photographer position is in my future apparently), I chose to stage a few examples of “Time-Based” Story telling.
First I photographed a succession of seeds “falling” from a tree into a pattern that forms a heart with an arrow through it. The working tile was SEED which stands for “Singularly Emerging Emotional Devotional”.
Next I set up my tripod and photographed a static series of old wooden blocks slowly spelling “I LOVE U”. Possible title ” Chock-a-Block” (what occurs when a system is raised to its fullest extent).
Thirdly, I set up a a Matryoshka Doll on a hand knitted spider-web rug slowly adding “whole” dolls (in one sequence) and unveiling themselves from large to small in a second sequence. Either one was tentatively title WOMB for “World Of Matryoshka Babes”, or “Web Of Mothers and Babies”.
Finally, I photographed a collection of Chinese Checker Boards located in my hall entryway. (a nod in the direction of “Theme” over “Story”).
Upon presenting the thumbnails for review, it was brought to my attention that the stories I had shot had 1 thing in common, they were all fixed location series’ that lacked staying power. Once the first 2 frames were seen, the other 3 were anti-climatic, and lacked Impact.
As a solution, I was asked how I might present the Chinese checker-Boards if I had my druthers. I responded I would put each one in a place that it would otherwise not be found, using a round one for a man-hole cover for example. My forte is in combining images, not shooting and displaying actual occurrences.
I was encouraged to work in the manner that I enjoy and present each game board as a separate combination “shot”, unified by the boards themselves as the theme. I embraced the idea along with a prechosen title “Check Mates”.
The first picture in the series (CheckMate 0) is a further refinement of one started by my instructor, Sally Van Gorder, were she combined one of the boards with a picture from the SEED series. I decided to turn it into a representation of a chalk drawing on the soil (rather than an actual board partially submerged.) It was done as an afterthought, but labeled first because it was the source of inspiration.
CheckMate 1 is a combination of a round board with my wooden folding table that I use to read in the garden. The board was layered 3 times with a 55 percent opacity to allow the wood-grain on the table to be retained, while boosting the color in the marbles to approach solidity. The holes in the board actually appear to be hewn out of the table itself. It was the first one I did, a starting point if you will.
CheckMate 2 (Feature Photo at top of Post) was the last one finished, It is probably the most complex. It depicts a metal board placed over a moss-covered garden stone. For some reason the blending mode I used only incorporated the underlying growth in 4 of the 6 triangles. The colors neede to be adjusted on all of them, using several copy, paste and color adjust layers. I agonized over whether or not to “grow foliage” in the 2 remaining points, finally opting to go ahead and do so, while leaving only the center hexagon in it’s original condition.
CheckMate 3 was the second one finished and was nearly as involved as the previous one listed. It started out as my attempt to unify a board with a hand knitted rug. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it to look integral to the rug. I DID get it to display really cool colors which I enhanced with “Craquelature”. I finally decided to import a third photo of some rocks from my garden, applied some filtering and was amazed to see the approximation of “spray paint on gravel” appear before my eyes.
CheckMate 4 was the penultimate composition. I had taken a picture of a sawed off fencepost and applied a beautiful white game board transparently over the top. I did agonize over whether I should crop it to approximate the size of the others, but those whom I polled thought that variety was a virtue, rather than a detraction.
CheckMate 5 was done third and almost didn’t need me at all. I used a photo of a square stepping stone and applied an antique square board over the top. When I hit “Color Burn”, the picture popped into clear view. The only thing I had to do was selectively edit a copy of the background to apply the “Color Burn” effect to the areas not covered by the game Board photo.
All in all I am very happy with the direction and results of this excersise.
Thank You sally!