Thursday, October 30, 2008

How and why.

As it turns out, my professor does not want to know the "how" but the "why" in the written statement of our final digital art assignment. My why takes up a wimpy paragraph in the first draft. I spent waaaaaay more time discussing how I'd manipulate the images and print them...probably because that is easier to do. The following "why" statement is stretched out a bit, but I'm pretty pleasantly surprised at an idea that popped up as a result of this experiment:

My photographs are a visual exploration of organic form and texture. Similar to a scientific experiment, I reduce the number of distracting variables to move the viewer away from her everyday associations with nature. Stripping flowers, leaves, and trees of color reveals symmetry and detail in much sharper focus than they would have otherwise been viewed. By removing plants from their environment or simply focusing on individual plants or parts of a plant, each subject is shown simply as it is in a moment of time; identity is defined outside its usual physical or culturally conceived environment.

For a moment, then, a gerbera daisy is not defined within human language by its latin name, Gerbera jamesonii, or culturally bound as a cheerful, popular flower well-suited to floral arrangements. A close-up image of its central florets doesn't give that much away. An image of an eye, for instance, or a lily pad, may surface for a moment before the mind snaps it neatly into place as "gerbera daisy."

A pattern is revealed as these images are observed as a collection, transforming them into a case for Darwinian natural selection. Nature has, indeed, selected more successful forms and textures that are repeated over and over in the natural world. The rough bark of an oak tree is very reminiscent of the exterior of an orchid bulb, while a close up of a daisy's flower head may remind the viewer of a field of corn. By examining form and texture outside of context, common links are revealed.


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