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Friday, June 18, 2010

Art Work as a Digital Image

I worked for many years in the photo industry as a food stylist, but I am not much of a photographer. Light is everything. I spent many a day tweaking food until it sat perfectly lit on set. Take the humble corn flake and imagine it through the camera lens. Imagine sorting boxes of corn flakes for perfectly arced and shaped flakes. Imagine arranging the flakes like flowers in a bowl of arrow root hair tonic and then tipping the flakes this way and that way until they "catch" the light. A certain type of insanity? Yes, I come by it naturally enough. My father, George Adams was a commercial photographer who worked in the sixties through the the eighties. My brother, Tim Adams, another photographer. Over the course of a thirty year career, I worked with many photographers on all kinds of assignments. What is it about capturing light?

Food styling aside, these days I am the photographer for the digital images of my paintings. My paintings often are on a field of metal leaf. Anything reflective presents lighting problems. My images often end up with hot spots. Lately I have photographed the work on overcast days in flat light. The work looks washed out and not as vibrant as I would like. What I am expressing is a dissatisfaction with viewing the work as a digital image. Don't get me wrong- digital might be among the greatest achievements of this time. Certainly it has transformed the photo industry. Certainly digital allows artists to create websites and post images on art sites like Saatchi- all windfalls to the artist.

I want to get my work "out there" but I struggle with the idea of how the work looks in the image. I struggle with the feeling that I am presenting a facsimile that is somewhat dishonest. I know after years of looking at paintings in art history books there is something unworldly about finally seeing the work with one's own eyes. My first trip to the Louvre was filled with recognition of the gap between the photographic and corporeal.

The answer is to have my work professionally photographed. No doubt, in time I will afford the expense as part of doing art business. For the moment, I am struggling along with slim margins, so photography is a chore for an overcast day. You will find me on my deck, tipping my paintings this way and that way, like cornflakes, until they catch the light, or not.

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