Making is thinking! This month, as an experiment to have a more traditional studio centered project contrasting the work I do out in the field or on the computer. Helping to give some distance from a digital based project, I started a little (actually life size in scale) side project this month. While working with a more direct medium and drawing from direct observation with a smart phone camera, I’ve been dabbling in an exercise or short series of single-line-contour “Selfie” drawings.
To describe the process, I’ve been working in large scale on a studio wall using the reverse mirrored camera to observe. To me the making become less about a drawing and more of an act to slow down, concentrate, and look with the cell camera. A more meditative approach counterintuitive to the typical way I use this lens to quickly sketch or take photographic notes. Often I never really re-look at the thousands of images in my pocket.
The smart-camera becomes a drawing tool, a way of perceiving a space behind my back and a simultaneous mirror to my face. An extension or way to navigate the room, translated by my hand recorded onto the paper. In an odd way while making the work I’ve been thinking of this more akin to making a photograph then drawing. It has been years since I have made self-referential work and I’m finding the project to be less about me then the room I’m drawing in. These drawings become more of an environmental portrait as I record my studio walls.
When considering the bridge between drawing and photography with the Camera Obscura, artists have used the lens as a tool to frame for centuries. I’m curious how this modern frame that being the screen of a Smartphone, has changed as we “see” in an omnipresent increasingly connected digital world. In this work I’m interested how the cell camera physically records while culturally framing a photographic phenomenon that is connected to a real space and time as well interconnected to another shared digital space.
Artist and photographer Fran Simó on Passengers iphonography writes clearly comparing the iphone to the Kodak Brownie as part to a continuation of snap shot aesthetic. http://passengers-streetphotography.com/en/de-la-kodak-brownie-al-iphone/. I’ve always thought of snapshot or street photography to be a way of re-looking at what we don’t see. Although these drawings are a distant from snap shot photography, I’m really interested in the tool of using the camera as a way to re-see. These drawings become a way to re-evaluate or perceive my world mediated by the frame of this screen.
While simultaneously researching Face Recognition Software for a different project, this studio exercise and drawing distraction is a nice break from the more computer or direct camera generated images I make. Allowing creative breath to rethink other projects cooking up in my studio. More on future work soon!
#Selfieobscura is a working title as I’ve been documenting progress; look on Instragram for more studio experiments.