Thursday, February 12, 2009

eye in the sky

a cold day in London

This shot continues a theme or merging of influences. I've found I really enjoy images shot totally out of focus. This is a technique that seems to sharply divide viewers. Some love it, some hate it, few are left ambivalent. There is a touch of impressionist painting in the back of my mind when I take these images, in fact trying to emulate that painting style is where I started shooting out of focus in the first place. Given Monet's many images of the houses of Parliament, this one seems particularly apt and was the reason I started shooting that way in London. This particular shot is also heavily influenced by a Keith Carter image, of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, shot through winter trees, with very selective focus. I've been down this path before, with the Zilker Christmas tree in Austin.

For a while I've been bothered about copying or appropriating ideas from other places, thinking I needed original ideas, or new and novel concepts of my own. Over time I've come to realise that borrowing or being influenced is the way the world works. I saw this earlier in the week, looking at a self-portrait of and by Rembrandt, in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Other paintings in the same room listed out wholesale lifting of compositions and poses from other older works. There is nothing new under the sun, after all. But if you take it and make it your own, you can't fail to find something new in the old ideas. Twyla Tharp talks about how any creative idea just needs two simpler ideas to be put together in an new way, to make a big idea. It doesn't have to be created out of thin air.


Barry Armer said...

Great shot Gordon!

Put me in the camp of those who love the OOF technique (at least for this shot :-)!


forkboy said...

One of my favourite pictures (of my own) is one where I accidentally shot a picture out of focus (forget to turn back on the autofocus mechanism and shot the picture before realizing it was out of focus). I'm not saying I'd do it all the time, but it was interesting and I think you are correct in your belief that yours is as well.

And what's wrong with being inspired by other's work? I look to Flickr to help provide inspiration, motivation, etc. because some days I just don't know what I want to shoot.