Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Digital art written statement

As part of the final project in my digital art class, a written statement is required. It is due today and, for whatever reason, I put it off until just now. It's a good exercise, though, because it forces you to really think about why you're shooting what you're shooting. And, wow, I didn't realize how clinical my approach was until I wrote this. Very revealing, and a little scary. I tried to keep it short and sweet:

My photographs are a visual exploration of organic form, shape, and texture. By stripping flowers, leaves, and trees of color, I seek to isolate and study their exterior and their gorgeous symmetry to reveal that nature has, indeed, selected more successful forms and textures that are repeated over and over in the natural world. Similar to a scientific experiment, I reduce the number of variables to move the viewer away from their everyday associations with nature. In addition to removing color, I do this by either removing plants from their environment or simply focusing on individual plants or parts of a plant. For my final project, all images are formally and conceptually linked.

All images are also digitally and physically treated similarly. Ten to twelve photographs are shot by a Nikon D80 digital SLR camera. For many of the flower images, I utilize a Hoya close-up lens kit rather than a macro lens for two reasons: I do not currently own a macro lens, and I enjoy the bokeh effect achieved through use of the Hoya lenses. All images are digitally scanned into Adobe Photoshop CS3 and most are treated with the following techniques:
- The color image is converted to black and white.
- A color fill is applied (R = 90, G = 55, B = 20) to produce a warming effect at an approximate 12% to 15% opacity. I use blending options to take the color fill out of the highlights to increase the contrast of the overall picture.
- A curve is applied to reduce the strength of the shadows. This evens out the values in the shadows and midtowns and reveals more detail.
- All or part of the image is sharpened using the smart sharpen filter. Most are sharpened by 100% to 150%. If a portion of the photo is sharpened, a layer mask is created using the lasso selection tool.
- Contrast is increased. The percentage varies pretty widely picture to picture.

All images are printed on Hahnemuhle 308 gsm Photo Rag using an Epson Pro Stylus 4880. A color profile specific to Photo Rag is applied to each image. Each print is 17" wide and approximately 10" to 12" tall with 1" margins.


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