“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.
INT – STUDIO – DARK
B&W shot of James sitting, dramatically lit in dark studio. Camera dollies forward until a HS is achieved.
Creative impulses come from within. Family, friends suggest “why don’t you do this or that,” meaning a shot of flowers, or landscape, a celebrity possibly? “This is what people want,” as if successfully satisfying a Market should be the motivator and measure the value of what I created.
I can tell you why do I create what I do, but I can’t justify the way I go about doing it. Why did Jackson Pollock favor a drip-style painting technique, while Vincent van Gogh’s used forceful impasto in applying his paints? My method is an illuminating technique.
Image 12 shows the LIGHTHOUSE Illusion, overall and in various shots, pans and tilts.
The “Illusions” came next, and through them James wanted to experiment with many of the possibilities that could be applied in creating photographic art. All tell a story, simply as a classical representation, or in a historical context, or by visualizing a myth, otherwise by adding a surprising, sometimes a humorous twist to a scene, which are constructed and staged by logistical planning and using various camera, optical and lighting techniques.
The series began with the Lighthouse Illusion taken in 1987.
This one is a play on the damsel in distress, locked away in the ivory tower. All the Illusions have some underlying meaning for me. Most of the illusions are photographed in natural settings. I like this quote by Frederick Law Olmsted. He was known for bringing landscape architecture to prominence, designing many famous public parks in the US and Canada, including Central Park in N.Y.C. He said…
“A scene in nature is made up of various parts, each part has an individual character and its possible ideal. It is unlikely that accident should bring together the best possible ideals of each separate part, merely considering them as isolated facts, and it is still more unlikely that accident should group a number of these possible ideals in such a way that not only one or two but that all should be harmoniously related one to the other. It is evident, however, that an attempt to accomplish this artificially is not impossible… The result would be a work of art…” Frederick Law Olmsted
Image 13 shows the BLACK POND BRIDGE Illusion, overall and in various shots, pans and tilts, mixed in with image 14 of THE THREE GRACES.
Among the 37 Illusions included in this series is Black Pond Bridge. It represents classical art, were “the nude” is often used to represent ideal forms, balance, and harmony with nature.
It’s comparable to the three charities painted by Peter Paul Rubens: ideal forms equal ‘beauty’, balanced by ‘charm’, and having ‘grace’ in harmony with nature…
Image 15 shows the WASHED-UP illusion, overall and in various shots, pans and tilts, mixed in with Image 16-DANAE RECEIVING ZEUS and Image 17-LA VAGUE (The Wave).
…Washed Up beautifully represents another classic subject that has been a subject for the arts, the reclining nude. In the early Renaissance Titian painted “Danae,” Goya painted “La maja desnuda” and Manet his “Olympia,” stripped of idealized mythology and confronting the viewer. Although the muse in Washed Up is not confronting the viewer, she is completely unmasked, and her idealized form set in this natural setting, like the nudes in the Danae Series, can only be an illusion. Look at the incredible wave in the background. In mythology this vision before our eyes, was cast of with her son, fathered by Zues, to the ocean.
Image 18 shows the LILY POND illusion, overall and in various pans and tilts, mixed in with Image 19-LES GRANDES BAIGNUESES and Image 20-HYLAS AND THE NYMPHS.
One final classical example is the “Lily Pond” illusion.
Though “Hylas and the Nymphs” painted by William Waterhouse has a similar setting as this photograph, James views it similar to a Renoir’s painting “Les Grandes Baignueses.”
Pierre Auguste Renoir was an impressionist, but in this piece his female forms are brushed in the classical style and only the background is impressionistic. The same effect was created in this photograph. Note: The canoe is a clear reminder that this was taken in an America setting, and by the way, its bow was filled with concrete blocks to balance proper staging.
THE END of Scene Three