I am fascinated with the idea of how time can be represented in a still image. I return time and time again to David Hockney on this subject and recently came across a video that I hadn’t previously seen of him talking about this topic and thought that I’d share it here.
It is surprising to me that in the UK there is a TV series that answers the question “What Do Artists Do All Day?“. Perhaps we really are living in the era of the creative as Chase Jarvis tells us. Having blown the best part of a day watching these videos my favorite had to be the one that shows printmaker Norman Ackroyd producing one of his large scale prints. In reading about David Hockney I was fascinated to learn more about the etching process to prepare prints and to see a master in action, in the videos below, adds another level of understanding. It’s amazing to me that such delicate watercolors can be produced by working on a copper plate with the added level of complexity that the work on the plate has to be done in reverse. Ackroyd has his reference image set up in a mirror to facilitate this seeing in reverse.
I was struck by the nature of Ackroyd’s project – to make images of the outlying islands of the British Isles – and that he tracks where he’s been using push pins on a map of the british isles. This of course has parallels with the Atlantic Basin project of Thomas Joshua Cooper. His work references watercolors that he’s made on location which is quite an undertaking in itself. A collection of his watercolor sketches from the Shetland islands is available and this work will be the subject of an exhibition later in 2014.
Check out a day in the life of Norman Ackroyd in the videos below.
I’ve been interested in figuring out how to give my images a sense of space, a feeling that you could step into them, and how I can play with time. I feel as though I’ve been making progress – using different kinds of lenses to get different effects and playing around with long exposures to give effects that can’t been seen.
Somewhat naively I thought that this was my unique struggle and so in digging into David Hockney’s work I was interested to read that he was wrestling with the same issues – 30 or 40 years ago. Hockney’s solution was the creation of photocollages. Perhaps the most successful of these was Pearblossom Highway, the image at the top of the page. When I had originally seen this and others like it I had thought that these were quite simple, knocked out in a couple of minutes. I didn’t realize the thought and effort that went into the making of it. Apparently the original shoot was done over the course of 8 days and then the assembly of the collage took another 2 weeks.
What makes this image interesting for me is that it plays with the notion of one point perspective that you would normally have in a photograph. This is done by changing position for each of the major elements in the photograph, for instance getting up on a ladder to shoot the stop sign. It gives an interesting effect. In other collages photographs of his friends and family taken during the course of an evening or afternoon capture their personality and the action.
I’m not intending to begin photocollages, just yet, but certainly food for thought.
I’m sure that David Hockney is a familiar name to all. Some have told me that he’s the most famous painter alive today, perhaps that’s true but it’s not what I find interesting about Hockney. I first came across Hockney’s work in the late ’80s when he was making photocollages which I thought were interesting and set me on a path of doing ‘joiners’ whenever I had the chance. I stopped paying attention to what he was doing as life got busy and it wasn’t until when one of my friends recently mentioned that her work was moving close to the Hockney Gallery and Museum that I looked him up again. I was surprised to see that he’d relocated from Los Angeles to Bridlington, a small seaside town in East Yorkshire, and was busily painting the Yorkshire Wolds. This is very familiar territory for me and was a bit of a home coming to see the video and resulting pictures. What is particularly noteworthy is that he’s painting very large paintings outside. He really does manage to capture the essence of the place. If you’re in the UK his yorkshire landscape paintings are being exhibited at the Royal Academy from Jan 21 – April 9, 2012. Check out the video below.