About the Photos and Art
Most of my photos and artworks correspond to the golden ratio (of 1:1.6180339887), and many are lined up so that key aspects of the photo are within the golden spiral. Those that do not have dimensions in accordance with the golden ratio are usually in the old-style TV ratio of 4:3, which is fairly close to the golden ratio. Cassette boxes, videos cases and many books also correspond to the 4:3 ratio. Some of my older splat art pieces were created on an A3 canvas, and have been left at those dimensions.
My texture abstracts are attempts to evoke a particular feeling, spirit or atmosphere of a thing, place, or person. Some people have mentioned that the pieces are like dreams or nightmares. By focusing on key parts of a subject, and photographing parts that are not normally the sole subject of a photograph, I am trying to access something deeper and release hidden meanings and connections that would not be visible with a 'normal' photograph.
In much the same way as the "eyes are windows to the soul", I am trying to look into the 'soul' of the subject through these photographs (the photos being the 'eyes'). Perhaps in a similar way to hypnotism or meditation, I am hoping to get beyond the exterior by concentrating and focusing on it intently.
Texture abstracts are created by taking at least 5 different texture photos and combining them in a variety of complicated ways, using several processing techniques. The combination of these techniques is either unique to me or extremely rare, as I am unaware of anyone else doing this kind of work. For that reason, I do not disclose my exact methods.
A texture photo, as far as I am concerned, is where I have taken a photo of one aspect of a place, object or person, evoking the 'texture' of the subject. For example, when I take a texture photo of a tree, I might get close and focus in on a small portion of the bark or the leaves, or I might stand back and take in a broad span of branches and leaves.
When combining these texture photos to make a texture abstract, I do not change the colours, nor do I add or subtract anything from the photos themselves. I use the photos to alter one another's colours and contents, so the properties of each separate photo contribute directly to the finished piece. It is a similar method to that of a painter mixing colours to acheive a particular hue, except vastly more complicated (thankfully, the computer tackles the hardest parts).
Sometimes the texture photos I combine come from wildly different places, and sometimes they are located in one specific spot. The details, if particularly relevant or interesting, are always explained in the text accompanying the photo. If the details are boring, I tend to write something silly instead.
Usually, there are around another 5 versions of each texture photo incorporated into the finished piece, making each texture abstract the equivalent of seeing around 25 images at once.
My splat art is all created digitally, pretty much exclusively in The Gimp. Sometimes it is created in intense sessions over a few hours, sometimes on and off over a period of months. Every single stroke and splat is positioned by me, and applied using a wide variety of techniques; nothing in any of the images is prepared beforehand or filled in automatically ('by computer') in any way, except for some of the canvas textures (which are then painted over anyway).
Most of my splat art appears fully formed and visualised in my mind, or sometimes as a sudden sense of colours and shapes, and is mostly in response to a piece of music or some (usually minor) event or film scene that has stirred me emotionally.
For all my photos, processing is done with either Imagemagick, The Gimp or Cinepaint. I run an Ubuntu/Debian Linux machine, and don't have Windows or a Mac. I don't use Photoshop or any commercial photographic software, partly for ethical reasons; I feel that the open source communities that produce the above programs provide a better model for working together as humans, and as humans with machines, than the model of commercial exploitation so often seen in the more selfish business aspects of our technological culture.
Ethical reasons aside, I do not feel that there is anything I need from other programs that Imagemagick, The Gimp or Cinepaint cannot provide for me. I write my own Imagemagick scripts to perform background tasks on several images at once for the complicated pictures, and usually just use The Gimp or Cinepaint for simple touch-up techniques.
Some photographers are unhappy with the idea of photo manipulation (often because it can detract from the art of actually taking a photograph), but for me, digital photo processing is only a more advanced version of the chemical processing that has been so commonplace amongst professional photographers since the very inception of photography as an artform.
I use processing as a means to achieve my artistic vision, rather than to hide mistakes I have made in the photograph itself. Indeed, any mistakes I make in composition, lighting, etc. are often intentionally enhanced at the processing stage, as I enjoy the Surrealist/Discordian aspect of allowing such randomness to control part of the artistic process. This kind of attitude is inspired in part by a scene in Joseph Heller's Catch 22, where Yossarian is given a medal as a means of covering up a huge blunder he has made.
I manipulate the EXIF data of my photos; regardless of which camera I use, the make and model is always referred to in the EXIF data as a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Photomatic 5000 - in honour of Douglas Adams. In this way, the camera make and model become less important than the picture, and, when I change my camera, the image data remains consistent. Also, it avoid the
penis camera envy that is so common in technical photography discussions.
Finally, I never use anyone else's work in my art, unless stated very clearly. On the very rare occasion that I do use anyone else's work, it will always be legally. I will always seek an artist's permission, unless they are dead and their work is no longer copyrighted, in which case I will always give credit (unless that, too is impossible for some reason, in which case, I will make that fact clear).