An independent study with Mr. Softie

January 27th, 2011 by mclantin

The quote for this project is : “The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” written by Susan Sontag.

Actually, at the beginning, I was supposed to take one quote per image but I realized that this sentence describes the whole project. If you take a closer look to this sentence, you understand that it is an opposition, formally and conceptually. In fact, this quote is split in two, right in the middle.

My idea for this independent study project was to make three images that would use photographs and, by adding words transformed by Mr. Softie, make them look like paintings. From afar, the viewer would be caught between the lines and shapes, lost in a large abstract print. Up close, some words and short phrases would be highlighted (disclosed), visible enough to be read. Words from this quote on perception, would compelled the viewer to question what he really sees. This way, the viewer would be confused and have no other choice than interrogates what he perceives.

I had a hard time to figure out how to add photographs to letters in an interesting manner. I finally came to the conclusion that cutting plain areas by adding lines (or precise shapes) was extremely useful. Making theses lines in Mr. Softie required that I played with the repetition of each words which made me more than happy (repetition is an important characteristic of photography, the ability to reproduce the same frame, the same letters, again and again) and stretch them in a proper way. Indeed, those lines have a huge impact on the photograph that is behind : they make it look like a drawing/painting that was photocopied many times. With a closer view, the viewer can distinguish easily that the lines are made of letters, that the background is a photograph. The two other works can be read in the exact same way : the photomontage effect allowing me to simply distort what is perceived even more.

Also, since I am really interested by this Susan Sontag’s quote, I decided to add a little bit of challenge and group the words The/the, painter/photographer, constructs/discloses together and use one group per image that I will do. At the end, I will have three images and each of them will be composed of one part of the sentence. I could then dispose the three prints one on the other which should give much more dimension to my work*.

Here are two versions that I have been working on simultaneously.

First row : First version with two close-up.

Second row : Different point of view of the second version.

* To be honest, I have no idea if printing on plexiglass could work… Maybe! 🙂