Tutor feedback and re-working
Following tutor feedback I was encouraged to rework some of the images in colour. Here are the results
The colour is intentionally muted as I was interested in preserving the texture and tonality – colour seems to interfere with this for me and I don’t know whether it’s just a preference or a personal visual anomaly.
The image of the endives brought up an aspect of visualising that I’d come across in a film called “Tim’s Vermeer”. The film chronicles an attempt by the inventor Tim Jenison to discover the techniques Vermeer used in his paintings. One segment, an interview with Sir Colin Blakemore, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford University, deals with how the human visual system perceives real time tonal gradation; for example in the way reflected light ‘falls off’ from a source – say a window – all the way across a wall into the shadow areas. Because of the way Vermeer’s paintings capture this effect, Jenison wondered if Vermeer was peculiarly talented in his perception and asked Sir Colin whether Vermeer could have been “some sort of savant”:
Tim Jenison: “What if someone said… maybe there’s a savant, who’s so smart that he could figure that out”
Sir Colin Blakemore: “He’s not smart… he’d have to have a very strange retina. The retina is an outgrowth of the brain. It’s a very complicated structure in terms of its nervous organisation… the signals go through a complicated network, several layers of different types of nerve cells before they finally get back to the last cells in the chain whose fibres make up the optic nerve. [so the system employs] a very clever trick for reducing information…”
Tim’s Vermeer (2013) Dir: Teller; High Delft Pictures LLC
The trick is a form of ‘bandwidth limiting’ whereby small incremental alterations are ignored – filtered out. This is perfect for economy of brain power “… but a disaster if you want to know about the appearance of a scene”
This graphic shows the effect:
Squares “A” and “B” are the same tone but looking at the left chequerboard you wouldn’t believe it. Only when an adjacent comparison is made is the true density apparent.
When I first saw the endives under muted daylight the lighter tones appeared to be just white. Only when I looked through the camera viewfinder did I see the spread of tones. In this way the camera is functioning as a viewing tool, enabling the observation of something which the naked eye cannot render. A similar function is observed in the camera’s ability to expand or contract time using long or short exposures.
1 “Flor” Flor Garduno 2002 Edition Braus
This assignment has given me the opportunity to learn about the way that light and shadow combine to give depth and shape to an image. It isn’t always what you might expect. After a slight nudge I have produced some colour work which worked quite well with the chosen subjects. I have pushed the brief boundaries and the sky did not fall in.