Monday, 19 August 2013

scans






The scanner is the most used peripheral that is connected to my computer. Although it is designed to copy documents it is perfectly useable as a kind of flat-bed camera that can record three dimensional objects. My artwork consists of prints that are the result of scanning collages of found objects which are combined into a semi-abstract version of landscape pictures.


Sometimes I scan individual objects before I can find a use for them. I am motivated by a sense of curiosity as to what their image will look like after it has been recorded by the process. I tend to collect more items than I have an immediate use for, and I like to know what they will look like when I take them out of storage and use them. It is not always possible to imagine this. The travelling perspective of a scanner produces an image that is subtly more like a map than a photograph. Also, copiers and scanners tend to read distance as darkness and objects that are scanned often have a black background that is similar to photograms.


Anyone who learnt photography in the pre-digital age probably started by producing photograms. These pictures were used to introduce the concept of controlling exposure and processing by placing objects on light sensitive paper under an enlarger and then
switching it on for about 45 seconds to create a negative shadow picture. Afterprocessing, the photographic paper has white silhouettes of the objects which appear to float in an undefined black space, created where light has struck the photographic emulsion. These photograms were an important introduction to the old-fashioned craft of chemical photography. Most photographers who learnt this process quickly forgot the act of making photograms when they moved on to more ‘serious’ photography. However, for a few decades at the start of the 20th century, these images were held in
some regard by avant-garde artists who respected them as an important part of the modernist art project. Alvin Langdon Coburn, Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray all experimented with what Gyorgy Kepes referred to as “photo-drawings”.

If used in a certain way, the modern digital scanner can produce images that are the modern equivalent of 1920s photograms. By scanning three dimensional objects instead of documents, images are created which can echo some of the elemental feeling of
photograms. The scanning process removes ordinary objects from their usual context. The resultant images relate to the tendency of science to render nature as uncanny.Science uses technology to reveal aspects of nature that are usually invisible. I use digital editing to discover qualities of my scanned images not seen in the original objects. I have collected some of these pictures in this book. Scanning can produce a neo-modernist beauty.





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