“Photography As ART” script shows how James creates his art using only light, camera, and optics, in addition to considerable logistical planning, technical experimentation, patience and dedication.
CUT to James looking at the camera/audience.
It was around 1997, I was on a professional assignment and taking a lunch break by Edgartown Harbor, when a young woman approached me expressing an enthusiastic interest in my art photography.
CUT to a b/w shot of Cleveland and dissolve into an early b/w of Marylyn Monroe (similar in look, in addition to personality).
She was to become his next Muse. Her name was Cleveland. Young, attractive, very bright, and having an effervescent personality that reminded him of the Marylyn Monroe in the classic film “Some Like It Hot,” she was a natural for the camera.
After taking test shots of his new Muse several times, at the beach, in the woods, and other locations to become visually acquainted, James decided to try something experimental and fun.
CUT to a nighttime upward through pine trees towards a starry sky. CUT to options 1] a sky with travelling comet, or 2] a stock shot of the Star Trek set, or 3]other suggestion?
Every time walking or mountain biking through the Vineyard State Forest at night he was struck by this amazing view. His eyes would follow the tall thin pines upwards to gaze upon the star filled celestial sky. Every time in the wonderment of looking at outer space he would say “beam me up” using that Star Trek catchphrase.
This gave him the idea of creating BEAM ME UP. Women have expressed finding this photograph somewhat disturbing, but the intention was quite innocent and playful.
TILT UP & DOWN on various multiple exposures of the Muse.
The Muse, through multiple exposures, mutates into many forms, each covered in plastic to simulate protection from the elements of an atmosphere unsuitable for alien space travelers. In a way different, yet strangely alike, they are all looking skyward to be transported back to their mother ship.
CUT to James addressing the camera/audience.
Controlling the light is key to control in photography. A View camera was again was most suitable, and a moonless night was needed for this multiple exposure on one 4X5 negative.
CUT to a video of a dark room, switch different lights on and off onto a mannequin placed in different positions in the Studio
The process was to place the muse, go back to open the lens shutter, bring the flash to the right position, pop it, and go back to the camera and shut the shutter. Repeat this process again by placing the muse about ten times, keeping in mind where the Muse was positioned in the previous exposure.
It was Cleveland suggested this pelican pose to make another play on this idea and process. You can see the background sky looks as if it is dusk, but it’s not, but a light build-up from thirteen exposures.
James views all his photographic art this way… CUT to James addressing the camera/audience.
Photography continues its amazing transformation.
CUT to a DOLLY shot moving down photography’s timeline.
In today’s digital age, its main instrument, the camera, has been made by to be nearly infallible by scientists to be a perfect recording device, and reinforced with powerful software by which anyone with the inclination can create a virtual reality.
I’ve always considered creative photography to be among the most depended left-right brain balanced mediums. It can still be…
CUT to the brain gif with the left brain removed or X’d out.
but now scientific algorithms are removing the need for left brain cognitive processes. They even delude or nullify their existence for the photographer.
CUT to an old lens having marking by which to set hyperfocal focusing. CUT to diagrams (I have, representing depth of light set-ups).
Do photographers today give any consideration, for instance, to hyperfocal distance or the best aperture or controlling depth of light for specific effects? Now it’s what can we make of it in software. This is change, it’s fine,
CUT back to CU of James addressing the camera/audience
but I’m not talking computer effects…that’s not what I do! I’m talking photography. I’m glad a large part of my photo artwork was created on film, and delighted my art pieces look more organic, always with glimmers of imperfection.
Today, I will create on a file, but I’ve not changed the approach in order to maintain the label of photographic art. My creative process will go no further through digital software,
CUT to a short video of pressing the shutter with its amplified associated sound.
and always ends at pressing the shutter.
I equate creating a visual to creating a song…
CUT to a shot of a musical score of an Elton John song and bring up a very short play of one of his songs. with a short. (Look for the interview.)
Elton John has mentioned in an interview that in this new digital age making music gets too complicated and takes too long.
CUT to the video of that studio session or CUT to a photo of him.
John Mellencamp made an album using only one microphone for the himself and the band, thus eliminating all the digital mixing, and called it the most authentic music he’s made.
CUT to a montage of compositing an image from photos and then the many options of software on that image.
Both are saying that the multitude of options in digital music actually dampens their creative process. My feelings are the same about all the digital aspects of photography. It kind of add an artificial intelligence into the process, with too many options. I make it and teach it simple.”
THE END of Scene Nine