artwork by I. Giardina

Pragmatic considerations

Object photography as embedded into a social context.

  • An image is an object with connectivity to a network of persons.
  • Photo object correlates to a point of view that is unique.
  • Photographer’s view is interdependent with their context. 

How a print operates in mixed media with semantic content.

  • Mixed media (found objects in the region) can give a sense of place to the print
  • the material content of personal interest ( carve in clay a motif of region)
  • expressionistic style (cubist, swirls, dots) reflect personal identity .

Changing gears towards abstractions

Object photography entails a classic paradox.

The philosophical point is the photographer is part of the picture, although not visible. Significantly, it’s the content that exists as a binary of self and not-self—a classic self-reference paradox of the type exposed by a famous philosopher in the early part of the 20th century. The action of capturing a scene embraces everything of an instance photographically. That is the entirety of the scene (image as object photo) is a set of all the sets (discrete objects in the scene) within the scene. There seems to be a recursive sense to the photographic scene. So given the photo contains everything in the scene, and ‘everything’ must be something, then by definition it (the photo) is a class by token the photo is a representation of an aspect of reality that is identical to itself.

Photo object analytics

The question arises: is the photo (as a class) a member of itself or not? If the photo is a member of itself by token of being unique object containing all the classes of possible associations within the object then it (photo) is a set of all sets. The photo contains itself along side all the representational objects within the photo. Though clearly it also is not a member of itself. That is the photo stands apart from all the representational objects the photo contains. Therefore the photo contains itself and does not contain itself. This is the case where if the denial of the conclusion that the photograph belongs to some other series of photos (hence the term photographic object is false) leads by necessity to the classic Russell’s paradox that the set of all sets both contains itself and does not contain itself. Therefore it seems futile to argue for the case of object photography.

Infinite conjectures on a blue monochrome

The photo is like a time slice of the whole field; returning to the image, it’s like turning the classic time piece sand glass. The event runs out again but in a diminished or dramatic form depending on the image and viewer. This ability to return to the photo as see it afresh again and again, as well as the sentence expressions about a depiction being possibly endless is baffling to contemplate. It might be equated to a somewhat a smaller infinity that is itself a sub set of a greater infinity, within say a thematic selection of photo’s. It is in the history of photography that certain photographers have made a career of reducing the possible infinity through making the image simple. However this only is a case of being conscientious based on preferences of what to represent but still would allow for endless expressions about the object. A counter factual would be a monochromatic colour field that seems to entail a one liner as in ‘this is a blue colour field’. However, on another account there are infinite expressions on this too. Consider a standard art historian analysis of the nature on that monochrome. Then a thought experiment of a possibly infinite chain of art historians each having their individual conjecture on the blue monochrome colour field.

A Photographic capture for covering in clear caste resin and embedded in air dry clay .

  • keep the subject as primary focus, avoid cluttered surrounds.
  • once you have a image printed on high quality paper it can be prepared for placement on a surface.
  • glue the image and press it so it sticks to the surface.

Add complexity through layers.

The binary builds meaningful relations for maximizing semantic contrasts. This layered binary style fits well with representing relationships. The first is a natural color binary of shade and light, the next being industry and nature serving industry demarked by rail lines. The contrast of a super wide-angle shot of a sunset with a tiny fuel tank jutting from the darkness as the simplicity of a structural intrusive—the relations urban grand buildings as a binary with the street light at night. Birds hold a binary with their surroundings through the flight and by perching as observers of nature and humanism. The slideshow above indicates the straight style composition as minimalist.

2. Layers in photography for mixed media

It is through layers within photography that can drive a complex narrative. This style works well within mixed media artwork. The photography mixed media enables the use of this style of photography. 

  • Focus through glass for reflection of a person walking past correlated with the non reflective image behind the glass.
  • Focus through a grid or lines of wire.
  • A puddle after the rain acts as a reflective layer.
  • Objects such as cars in traffic as block objects layer abstraction.

Object photography within the mixed media.

One method is to prepare a tonal background. When dry, then add more complexity, so the printed image stands out. Another methodology would be to place the print and build up from that thematic referential point. Where both methods converge is the intentional use of variable media.

3. Dramatic object photography for mixed media

Whereas the other style main focus is on the aesthetics of elements. A subtle shift may be due to subject having a social dimension that through composition gives a dynamic message.

Dramatic geometric optics.

The nifty 50mm focal length is the choice documentary lens and ideal for the straight and layering street shooting styles. Photography with this focal length means little optical distortion if the picture is at least f11. It’s great to shoot with a prime lens, for it means any geometric effects are true to that focal length. The super wide-angle stretch space while the super-telephoto compresses or flattens space. Using objects with the optics to match can give radical interpretations of the thing photographed.

Object photography placement in mixed media.

The use of resin in mixed media for optical effects.

There are two approaches to enhance a photography print. Firstly, build up gradually layer by layer a mound of resin. Then place the image on the top covered with a thin layer. Objects can be placed within the resin so further developing a sense of 3D perspective. Secondly, there is the method of laying the print down and building layers of resin over the image. The process creates an optical magnification of the print. This style works well to create a focal point of the entire mixed media composition.

An example of photographic print embedded in clay on the edge of a four sided interconnect construction.

The series of images below printed with variable levels of resin poured over the print. The properties allow for a plethora of symbolic possibilities that can inform the painting as a whole or in part.

Painterly effects that blend with surrounding media.

The selection of black and white photography over colour.

The first choice is to use black and white prints. This choice is because the color may fade or change. Black and white images are graphic representations and so stand out within a complicated composition. However, color can be the right choice so long as the inks are of high quality.

Embedding the image so to build up a block of resin.

This technique isolates the image print. There are various methods used for this process as follows.

  • Lino block that is cut out so to embed the image.
  • Use air dry clay to build up around the image.
  • Putty can be used though needs to hardened by adding resin.
  • Rolled cloth or paper adhered to surface.
  • embed objects within resin as an added feature.

This method, if used with care, can bring incredible detail to the photo print. However, it works well with abstracts with distinctive spaces. Oils are preferable, given there is no absorption into the paper.

Articles related to this source material.

This is an article this author wrote on outdoor art