As artist we step away from reality to create another reality. The day to day events and happenings to the non-artist is a world of real possibilities for us. For me this is where the beginnings and foundations of the new reality come from. For the non-artist it is just the ordinary, the mundane. The created reality is a twist which causes the viewer to see anew what was around him all along.
If we take for example an author, who traditionally writes in non-fiction writes a book of fiction. He uses this as a means to bring forward a theme that may not give the result that he wants in non-fiction. Let us say that he writes a story about a man who lives for one thousand years. The character roams from place to place as a drifter because all the people in his life die off, and his secret would be exposed if he were to linger in one place for too many years.
Okay, this is the character and the events in the character’s life. This sets up the new reality in the mind of the reader. With all of this in place, now the author can put forward his message. That message is based on the inner thoughts of the man, for he sees societies breaking down and losing its moral compass. He believes the cause of this breakdown is the love of materialism and taken advantage of others in its pursuit. He sees societies fall one after another because of its inability to connect with the real things of valuable in life that nourishes the soul and gives real joy.
The character is not in our reality obviously, and could not be told employing non-fiction, but lessons can be learned from the man’s insights into society and humanity in the created reality. Could the breakdown of the society be told in non-fiction? Yes, of course, a historian could chart the rise and fall of nations, but charts, reason, facts and figures seldom changes people’s motivations. Creating a character that the reader can identify with makes a big difference in the effect the message has on the reader.
For me as a photographer of still life, to create another reality I have to employ tools to cause the departure. I find that there are perceptions that we have from our vision that has to be altered to make that shift. Here I name what I use:
Reality is in 3D __ and of course there are more demotions than just 3D, but it is enough for this paper __ and photography is a 2D medium. So this becomes our first departure.
Reality is in color. My images are monotone; black & white or shades of gray. This would be another departure.
There is no grain in what a person sees in reality; meaning there are no tiny dotes that come together to create what the eye sees. Grain therefore is an artificial tool I use to create the other reality, a reality made up of grain, and therefore by it there is another stepping away.
There is no high contrast in the objects we see in reality. Things in our sight have smooth transitions from item to item. We see texture, the subtle differences between objects and complete forms; the eye blends the tones in the things it sees so there are only minor tonal differences. I, however, employ high contrast as part of my voice, where the mid tones give way to a gray scale near the extremes, and so this too is another departure from reality.
In reality the eye naturally focuses on the subjects placed before it. In a photograph the eye would not naturally place its intention on subjects that are out of focus; it would search for subjects in focus. With this I can use it to my advantage. I can cause an artificial movement of the eye by having some subjects in focus and others out of focus. The eye would move away from the subjects out of focus to the subjects in focus, and so this becomes another departure from the real.
Each thing in reality has a context, a natural habitat in which it is normally found and the mind accepts. I take that item out of its natural environment and place it alone with no context; I have removed it from the reality of which it naturally dwells. Now the subject has no context, of which it is difficult for the mind to accept, but the mind can shift to a new reality of which it will accept the subject with no context.
So, working in 2D, black & white, employing grain and high contrast, sometimes a limited focus and removing the subject from its natural context, I have created a new reality, a reality where I now can put forth my message.
In reality a spoon is a spoon, a pencil is a pencil and a box is just a box, but when they become symbolic for something else, by their arrangements, their inter actions and our angle of view, the viewer is now open to transcend to another ream. Moving to that other ream opens him up to receive the message, and this is because the points of reference have now been shifted. Animation does this so well, where trees talk, rabbets ware shoes and the hands of a clock have gloves. The viewer accepts the new reality and is ready for the message.
On the surface, in our reality, this image is of two forks; no more, no less. I remember a visitor at one of my group shows in Sweden said, after seeing the prices of my photos, “For the price of a picture of a spoon I could buy one in gold!” However, their arrangement and interaction suggests a symbolic meaning when observed more closely. I am using the two utensils where one clasping, and the other being clasped. This is a clear gesture by the upper fork in capturing the lower one; it even has fingernails. The captured fork is unable to escape; it is immobile by the grip.
To me this is symbolic for the grasp that materialism has on a person. In this reality the tenacious hold is undeniable, and one’s ability to get out of that hold is difficult.
We acquire something, and we think that we own it, but in truth it owns us. It needs to be maintain, cleaned, store, protected and prevented from thief, and all this does not come without a cost.
Often by the constant persuasion of consumerism we purchase things that in the end leave us empty. By not checking our hearts and reminding ourselves what really makes us happy and content leads us to excess. We are trying to fill the void within ourselves, and as a result we are in slaved.
When we are in touch with ourselves and do purchase items of real value that really give us joy, their storage, maintenance, and upkeep is worth it. It does not drain us, and we would never let them go.
These things are items of worth that do not lose their appeal, like a favorite book you read as a child, an expensive watch you had been wanting for a long time to purchase, an original piece of art that you know the right place for it in your home; when to hang it, and when to take it down.
I hope the reader can see that my words are not in any way an attempt to create a mindset of scarcity versus a mindset of abundance, to think that I intend that you do not purchase well made products and that you should stop the growth of a healthy economy. My intent is rather an encouragement to appreciate those things that give you pleasure and great memories, and that your heart and inner self directs your purchases; not the commercial media. And if I may add, that the value and goodness of your fellow human being is not measured by the things he possesses, but rather by what rests in his heart, and how he treatments you, and that his possesses are cherished, and he is not enslaved by them.
Leave a commit about the things that you cherish, that you hold on to, that gives you comfort and contentment. We would like to benefit by what you have discovered by posessing them.