Photography and Art

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Third Dimension Part II

It's funny that once an idea grabs you, evidence of it appears everywhere. Even though I've read tons of photo "how-to" books, none of them has talked about visualizing your photograph in three dimensions, yet some artists just naturally do this.

Here's a case in point. Today, I saw a cool exhibit by a young Montreal artist called Jessica Auer. Jessica won the Roloff Beny prize at Concordia University in 2006 and used the funds to travel the world, adding images to her "Re-creational Spaces" project.

These images are large, vibrant C-color prints that depict man's impact on tourist areas such as Las Vegas, Machu Picchu and Niagara Falls. These are non-judgmental photographs that challenge the viewer to make up their own minds as to the effect of man's intrusion on nature. Think of it as Burtynsky for the tourist trade. Funnily enough, the images are on display at the Toronto Imageworks Gallery (owned by Ed Burtynsky) right now.

Here's a sample image (the size obviously doesn't do it justice)

As you can see, the artist has created a wonderful sense of depth with this composition. The choice of vantage point puts all the lines on the diagonal, leading the eye from the foreground to the background.

Contrast this with many of my images that tend to have lots of parallel lines across the image, leading to a lack of three dimensionality.

The only thing I didn't like about this exhibit was the choice of C-print as the medium. I just find C-prints to be very plasticky and not a natural photography medium at all. Yes, the colour gamut is wonderful and yes, you can print some truly large photos on this medium, but the photos come out looking like they should be mounted on the wall at MacDonalds'. They have that feeling that they would stand up to spilled Coke and a good mopping. These prints were lovely, but could have better presented.

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