Tuesday, March 6, 2007

lust as a mantra

lust for life

«lust for life»

I still find studio-like work to be very difficult. Never mind that the lighting is one of the toughest aspect of it, and it is not for a lack of imagination; to my standards. I do not feel uncomfortable in coming up with ideas, but in the case of portraits, I think I am at a loss with giving directions.

Perhaps I am starting to believe, and be affected, by the notion that "photographic rules" are more applicable in studio work than in reporting what already exists. In photographing a building, the gain is in looking at it from an unusual perspective. Somehow, I just feel agile and a rather facile task to tackle. Unfortunately, this does not happen when I must configure the elements to achieve what is in my mind. Also, I need to find a way where I can "break the rules" with studio work, in the same way that I do with "fixtures," for lack of a better word.

This image was in my head for quite some time. The elements were there, even if the poem's stanza was not chosen. Actually, I had in mind one of many Pablo Neruda love poems, some of which I have translated myself -- this is a very hard thing to do. However, I like extemporaneous ideas, or a bit of chaos, in putting things together or when I do something. That there is a plan to every detail is rather boring.

Here, the idea then evolved from a poem about lust for essence. In the compendium Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970 by Pablo Neruda, the poem «Verbos» (page 344) sits between two poems about the end of life. This struck me, as indeed, they were written (1968) towards the end of his life (d. 1973). It is quite a contrast that this poem is purely about words, rather than the emotions that he which he is so well-known. This make me think that using a reddish-brown ink would be the proper colour. As luck would have it, I could add an element of contrast by using the similarly coloured book by Irving Stone, but with the title «Lust for Life». That is it is a novel about another art-exponent (Vincent Van Gogh) is a delicious irony.

I had an adrenaline rush about the all of these elements coming together. However, I thought that typical rules of photography would destroy how I wanted this elements to interplay. I would suspect that the rules would dictate that the book be bright enough to discern the title, that the words be nice and sharp, and perhaps in a very nice font (i.e., readable), and the romantic lighting typical of these shots would be the wrong way to go. I still do not like that photographs should express everything intended in an image.

So, the approach was instead to make the pen very sharp. It is elegant and not much left to the imagination, but the words, they had to blur, and if a bit difficult to decipher -- people can always look up the poem in its entirety. The book was more about the form and colour, and I fel that I did not have to reveal it that much. Certainly at a good image size -- not available on the web size -- would reveal enough. However, making it brighter breaks with the "rhythm" of information as one moves from left to right: the pen is sharp and well-lit, and the words beging to blur, so the book had not only to blur but to also be darker.

In the end, the whole idea is that words are a nice mantra for photography. Not only a lust for life about it, but to want to grasp intangibles, that perhaps fall outside so many rules that make it easy to criticize.