“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.
Image 31 shows the STONEWALL illusion in pans, tilts, overall.
Stonewalls are another addition especially unique to the Vineyard and all of New England landscapes. The golden age of stonewall building, mostly out of granite, for fencing, boundary lines, or an animal pound was from 1775 to 1825. The searches for a particularly beautiful sample ended with capturing this STONEWALL illusion, to which is added the petrifaction of a muse (through three hours of painting).
Image 32 shows the HANGING OUT ON THE VINEYARD illusion in pans, tilts, and overall.
The word about MV is people go there to hang out. It is a pristine and beautiful place were billboards, chain stores, and traffic lights are left behind on the mainland. Take off your shoes and let the sand between your toes. As in the photograph HANGING OUT ON THE VINEYARD notice the red pumps abandoned in the beach grass, and the last thing our muse is hanging on the line is her panties, preceded by her bra, stockings, skirt, and blouse… there she is “au natural.” She’ll fit right in with the Vineyard’s array of clothing optional beaches.
Image 33 shows the material checklist and Image 34 a sketch for HANGING OUT ON THE VINEYARD.
The materials, the lines and poles were hidden away in a location that took a bit of a hike to get to. I was awaiting puffy clouds, but in a year of visits to this beautiful Cedar Tree Neck location it was either overcast or cloudless. I always embrace the sun for photographs and finally went ahead letting my Muse just let it all hang out under that clear blue sky.
Image 35 shows FROM SEA in pans, tilts, zooms and overall.
This two-photograph set FROM SEA TO SEA was inspired by a call from a Manhattan photographer; asking James where on the Vineyard is there a nice place to shoot. To that, he replied “turn around and you’ll be in a nice place,”
Martha’s Vineyard is a visually beautiful place in every direction… Of course, saying that is one thing, creating a visually literal interpretation of that is another matter. So how do you show the two sides of beauty at the same time? What came to mind was using a mirror that could reflect in the same photograph some of the beauty of a scene that was behind the camera. To that scene I would add the most beautiful part of nature, the Muse.
Finding a location offering a beautiful two-sided vantage point that could be photographed took a while. Finally, a spot at Lambert’s Cove Beach offered a tunnel shaped dune that gave a view of an inner lagoon, while the reverse direction overlooked Vineyard Sound.
Image 36 showing mirrors and Polaroid test set-up.
He decided to use more than one single mirror to have more reflecting surfaces, and also to have them in irregular curved shapes so they would have a more organic fit with the environment. The multiple mirror approach also considered photographer David Hockney’s thesis of how we see, with our eyes never fixed and always darting around any scene; it played in to our eye movement. This idea he later explored again in the Fragmented series.
Image 37 shows David Hockney’s MOTHER BRADFORD, Image 38 shows TO SEA in pans, tilts, zooms and overall.
When I got the location all I had left to do was to position the mirrors. I staked a pole where the Muse would be and positioned the camera. I had prepared the mirrors with pikes and placed them close together in the sand. From there it was testing shots to determine the best optics, f-stop, positions, angles, distances, to align the mirrors and collect all the desired elements in focus, while at the time keeping myself and the camera out of any reflection. As always, my Muse arrived on time. From there pressing the shutter button was the easy part. Together the two sides, FROM SEA… TO SEA, gives us the duality of a sculpture.
THE END of Scene Six