Over the last few years I have been taking photographs of my glass and finding that the more I zoom into the work, the more interesting the landscapes are that I get. This is a process that believe it or not does not involve any post-production manipulation like filters or special effects. Everything that you see is as the camera saw it. The difference for me with many of my pictures is HOW I choose to shoot the work. Again, this is using direct sunlight, no special effects of any kind. The key has been how I shoot the work, the lenses I use, the light I have and the object that I am photographing. In my case, I have determined that some work photographs better than others in this way.
As we near a new year, I am reflecting a little on some of the pieces that came about this past year and I thought I would share some with you. These are just a few of them.
Some of my pictures look like surreal landscapes, maybe even from another world. This is due to the fact that I am giving people a view into glass that most people do not see. I am shooting glass objects at a high degree of magnification and under very high resolution. As a result, I might turn a half-inch square into a 72 inch square. Under these conditions, levels of detail emerge that the naked eye simply may never see. In other cases, I am not photographing quit this tightly. In this case, the glass will most often LOOK more like….glass.
I like both ends of this spectrum and I have shot thousands of photographs now using my own blown glass as a subject. You might wonder what I am trying to achieve. Its a good question. In the beginning, I had no idea where the work was going. I was photographing my work because a friend had sent me some photographs she took of some of my orbs up close. They were high resolution. I blew one up and kept blowing it up until I realized that the lens she used continued to give good resolution of the glass surface. This got me thinking and exploring. I still am not sure where this type of work is going, except that I like it and I am going to continue doing it. Something interesting happens when you allow yourself to not know where something is headed; it is suddenly free to go anywhere….even places you had never considered before.
As I get older, technique does not dazzle me as much as it used to. Its important, don’t get me wrong, its just that there is more to artistry than just technique. Sometimes our biggest problems lie in what we are unable to imagine….because we have limited ourselves creatively too much. I see this all the time in school where people want to play it safe and get a good grade. The real fun is out on a limb, never sure when you might plop down on the ground. Its there, on that limb, that the good fruit is nearly always plucked.
So often I find I am limited by my own biases of what I think I should be doing or that I am capable of doing that I literally squeeze out vast tracks of possibilities in my creative life. As artists, we have to do this in order to create work that is coherent and focused, but this is a sword with two sides. I use this work to keep me with something new and different running in the background. And really, does it need to be anything? After all, what are most of the “beautiful” materials in the world but a deep visceral reaction to things that are shiny, brilliant and brightly colored? When we say “eye candy” this is what we mean.
Often “eye candy” gets smeared with a sense of vacuity though, as though this feeds the eye but not the soul. I am not entirely sure that this is so. In fact, I think that our need for great color and brilliance is so total that we could probably look at these kinds of things and be fed at a deep level. In fact, this is just what we do when we look at a cut diamond, or a shiny metal surface. What I am saying is that we ought not feel bad for loving the simple pleasure of a brilliant color. After all, art emulates nature, and what we see in my glass is what we also see in nature, and it is that very nature that has informed our likes and dislikes.
I find that when I am creating this work, I am an explorer. I am seeking to see how far into the glass I can go to see what there is to see, to even go beyond the eye and its capacity to see the ordinary in order to pluck something from it that is extraordinary. These are interesting pieces in their own right, and as they continue to emerge in an ever-interesting array of new forms and landscapes, I remain engaged in seeing where it will take me. Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s hoping that 2016 is a great year!Thanks for all your support!