Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Daguerrean Dream, Visual Symphony - Part III

Daguerrean Dream
Visual Symphony – Part III
Imaginary Scherzo

  Fast and fleeting imagery of imagination, rip and ripple continually through consciousness.  In a whimsical whirlwind, they momentarily carry me to otherworldly places, where surreal scenarios imprint themselves upon the matrix of my mind.  Reality’s relativity is stretched to last sustainable limits, and in that stressed state is let to mold itself anew, with freshly redesigned self-sustaining properties, which let me glance upon themselves in relatable ways.  Was I dreaming, or did that really happen?
  In this third movement of my Daguerrean Symphony I wanted to explore the sacred space of my dreams.  I set out to explore those endless ways, in which visual information, gathered and retained throughout the waking parts of my life, is metamorphosed by the lens of fantasy.  Episodes of daily existence and feelings, scenes and semblances of all kinds, personal history and aspirations; all these exist within the cranial annals of memory, a primordial soup of ephemeral thought.  It is during dreaming cycles of our resting hours, and sometimes in brief apparitions we may label as daydreams or, in more extreme cases, even hallucinations, that gray matter acts to reorganize and reshape it all as if playing with  building blocks.  In which unexpected and exciting ways will these reworked forms present themselves?  
  Lying in bed, half awakened from a vivid dream, I often concentrate on these lessons of newly formed connections.  At times strikingly bold, and at times as if cloaked by fog, they all have lessons for me to learn, and, who knows, perhaps to teach.  Should I labor to represent upon a silver plate a particular instance of such sight, will the experience of one who views my final image be relatable to my own? I dare to dream so, but in the end that’s irrelevant.  When you look at the 18 plates below, what is it that You see?  Which neural connectors are triggered, which bits and pieces are trawled up from subliminal depth of Your cognition?


Head In The Clouds

Breath In

Projective Synesthesia

Photography For Clowns


Third Eye Door


Root Energy

Branch Energy

Night in OB

Cactus Spikes

Lines Of Communication


Prangey Redux

Party Bug

Skull Space


On Technique:

  Dreams and visions are complex cocktails of reality and imagination.  All senses and experiences are jumbled and reorganized, and what emerges from that is usually something never before seen or experienced.  Thus, to create these daguerreotypes, I set out on a path not yet explored by image-makers of the past.  Starting in late 2018, I devised and executed a series of experiments involving over 100 separate trials. All work was carried out in strictly analog fashion. The goal was to explore properties of daguerreotype process, which, just like our subconscious, were always hidden in plain sight. Along with other effects, I was most interested in controling and intensifying those colors within refractive capability of image surface, as well as exploring limits and boundaries of opalescense.  By early spring , after much meditation upon plate behaviour while given various treatments, I produced the first plates, which would subsequently evolve into this third part of the symphony.  
  As you likely have noticed, most of the plates above are shown at a slight to moderate angle.  This angle of view and lighting has been selected to best represent the color of the original.  In fact, looking at the mirror-polished silver surface of the plate squarely and straight on, shows the viewer’s reflection, so daguerreotypes are always viewed slightly askew.  There is simply no way to even capture in a digital copy the amount of detail a daguerreotype holds, much less so to relate that to viewers upon a screen at 72dpi.  With its weight and presence, a daguerreotype is meant to be examined live, ideally while being held in hand, and interacted with.  All of the tones and colors you see play and change as the viewer changes their position or the position of the plate.  So just imagine that you’re the one holding these unique object we call ‘Daguerreotypes’.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Daguerrean Dream, Visual Symphony - Part II

Daguerrean Dream
Visual Symphony – Part II
Interplanetary Adagio

  Change is the only observable constant.  Where there’s matter, there’s flux.  Material substance goes though various metamorphosis, and cultures, ideas, and emotions are no different.  Coming to is followed by prominence, forced out by decline and obscurity; the great wheel keeps mercilessly grinding its gears.  Gaining a clear awareness of this at an early age, prompted my mind to actively seek shelter from relentless onslaught of attachment and subsequent loss.  By directing more and more attention to dreams and fantasy, a workaround seemed to present itself, where scenarios were suspended in timeless ether of my imagination.  Objects gained well-defined personalities, while time became a coloring tool, filling in the gaps between the lines. 
  Long before I learned of idioms about a tree falling in the woods, or single clapping hand, I often directed my attention to very similar themes.  Attempting to grasp it through as many senses as I could, I would try to imagine the feeling of my room.  I knew that room like the back of my hand, but yet I knew that I have always experienced that room with me in it.  How was it though when I was not there?  How did it feel in there?  Can I pick out one sunlit dust particle floating through the air? Can I pick out a million of them all at once?  I attempted to grasp it all at once, a full virtual reality with only my own neural connection and brain chemistry to aid me.  I’ve also always loved science fiction writing, so space and time travel were often on the forefront of my thinking.  Looking up at the night sky, I earnestly tried to picture and feel what was that thing they call Infinity?   Is infinity of time the same as one for space since what is one without the other?
  As I learned of progress and evolution, I started to notice that those concepts, noble and natural as they are, imply more and more so rapid renewal of technology.  I recall taking apart a gramophone, barometer, fountain pens, etc.   Those technologies were at their time top of their game.  Yet, where does that perfection go when something new comes around?  For the answer to this recurring question, I once again turned to the familiar fertile grounds of my imagination.  There, these antiquated objects found refuge within infinity of space, upon colorful new planets, where they would still be valid, needed, admired.   In my mind, I relinquished to such fate the catapult, spindle, steam engine and so many more.  With ever-accelerating pace of innovation, more and more such instances occur on almost daily basis.  
 This second part of my visual symphony shows 7 fantastical perspectives, which can be seen as movie stills.  Objects presented there used to fill our daily life with joy, or beauty, or be helpful to us.  Replaced by smart phone apps, and no longer appreciated en mass on Earth, they were spotted deep within my dream-space, as they set off on interplanetary expeditions, probing deep space for suitable habitats.  A flood of ambient organic sounds, accompanies their flight.  Like whispering howl of wind as it makes its way across rolling prairie hills, or the echoes of whale song reverberating from coral reefs, these sounds filled in the ever widening distances between these imaginary space explorers, tying them together choreographically in an interplanetary adagio.  
  Try to extend your senses in their direction.  Let the cold emptiness of vacuum, or the enveloping clouds of unknown chemical composition fill your mind and senses.  Can you feel our long forgotten friends as they venture through infinity of time and space in search of happiness?

Space Explorer #1

Space Explorer #2

Space Explorer #3

Space Explorer #4

Space Explorer #5

Space Explorer #6

Space Explorer #7

On Technique:
  In order to faithfully translate my vision upon daguerreotype plates a new approach seemed necessary.   My explorers would encounter various atmospheres of heavenly bodies, some of which would likely have elements and turbulences unlike anything seen on earth, or even within our Solar System. Thus, those colors and effects had to be teased out of my imagination.  Dreams, as well as wakeful imagination, often take familiar objects and sights, and place them in entirely conjured situations, as if filling in the background and environments for those objects upon a blank canvas, using free-association of memory to draw upon for pertinent information.
  In light of that, all images in this series were made with objects positioned on pure white background, usually a plain foam board.  When desired, light was controlled to delineate planetary horizons.  Tones and colors seen in various atmospheres and those of exhaust from my space travelers’ engines were created via careful chemical manipulation, via a method that came to me in a dream.  
  Once again, images here are shown at a slight angle.  I will once again call attention to the fact that daguerreotype produces its tone and colors via refraction of white light, so they change in appearance depending on viewing conditions, and are best experienced live.  In order to best reproduce the color though, they have to be at slight angle, and be lit from particular angle, so for the purposes of this post they were copied while being held in hand.


Friday, December 13, 2019

Daguerrean Dream, Visual Symphony - Part I

Daguerrean Dream
Visual Symphony, Part I
Sonata in Natural Color

  While moving through the passages of life, each of us carries a unique melody, a certain rhythm, a distinct tune. This tune has its origin within physical world, but is given structure and final form by filters of our perception.  Each sight we see is akin to a musical note in a score, and our emotional responses are sounds, generated from that static symbolic mark, but given flavor by each performer.  Most times this melody goes entirely unnoticed, as if a current under a moored boat, gently swaying our experience to and fro. At times though, with or without intent, we are set adrift upon that ever-present current, and get a chance to merge with it in much more viscerally and raw ways.  When we focus our conscious attention on such unconscious forces as dreams and unadulterated imagination, the unseen can briefly be glimpsed, and it is those visions that we fix upon page or plate to communicate them to the world.  
  Dreams have always played an important role in my life.  Ever since I can recall, I was caught day-dreaming at all various places and occasions, and my imagination constantly ran wild given even the slightest opportunity.  Reality was a merely a playground for my mind.  When asleep, I dreamed in color, and sometimes those fleeting visions of the night left deep impressions upon me, affecting the day as if a color filter was placed over it.  These experiences led me to gravitate toward photography as a medium of choice for transcribing such ethereal notion as personal perception of reality into visual format.  Rooted in physical properties of interplay between light and substance, photography allows the maker for a screen of each individual’s dream-state to reveal intricate patterns of deeply personal nature.  Manipulation of photographic substances and equipment during the process of creation, is a transformation of visions of our dreams into form that can be experienced by others.
  Works presented here comprise an introductory piece, a sonata, part of a visual symphony.  This symphony uses nanoparticles of silver instead of musical notations,  and acts to stimulate the visual rather than auditory sense.  The sonata before you is meant to familiarize viewer’s eye with previously unexplored pallet of natural daguerreotype colors and textures, which lay dormant now for too long.   I wanted to rethink the original method by which faithful images from nature were obtained. In doing so, I felt unhindered by predisposition. While charting the course of my exploration almost entirely empirically, I melded and reformed with each new phase of discovery.   Colors, shades, tones, and offspring of their interactions dance upon the plate, reflecting the varied moods of dreams.  Accessing those dreams and seeing them solidified upon a silver plate is a joy like no other I’ve experienced.


Water Drop

Sun Splash

Mind Works



Dark Matter

City Bustle

Spheres of Influence

  On process:
  Why daguerreotype?  That’s simple, but it’s a two-part explanation. 
  First off, daguerreotypes images are entirely unique, with each plate being as precious and unrepeatable as a single dream.  Finesse of detail, variety of possible textures and colors, incredible stability and longevity those qualities attracted me from the start, Attentive investigation into these aspect revealed to me new horizons, just as dreams often do.  While creating a daguerreotype, one has to keep a constant focus in their mind.  Mindfulness is paramount to success, and, just like in dreams, one single seemingly insignificant detail can in fact be the main determining factor, the crux and cornerstone of a particular lesson.
  Secondly, aside from its nearly unlimited resolution and mesmerizingly holographic appearance, daguerreotype, with its unmatched historic significance, also happens to have the most untapped potential of any other I’ve encountered over the three decades of my photographic journey.  Since the first time I saw a high quality daguerreotype made in front of me over eight years ago, I felt a relentless pull to translate my vision into daguerreotype format.  It took a number of years to get started, and then as many years to get proficient in this demanding, and very physical process.  Once I was able to portray upon a silver plate that which I envisioned, I wanted to make this noble process truly my own.  I saw a multitude of potential treatments of it that went unnoticed or unutilized now for 180 years.  Daguerreotype brought forth to the world the art of photography, but since that momentous occasion, remained nearly completely stagnant.
  My journey into this visual symphony aimed to simultaneously develop new syntax for both my own artistic expression and for this wonderful process.  Surprises amid exploration of its hidden properties, felt in perfect unison with what it is like for me to experience moments of vivid dreaming, or when I let down all guards and let imagination carry me forth to form new imagery with nothing but firing of synapse groups.
 Nanoparticles composing daguerreotype image, each indistinguishable with naked eye, unite in a symphony of a structured semblance, sometimes arranging themselves to mirror a likeness of things material, at other times conveying something much more elusive.  Every time I look at a plate, prior to setting in motion choreographed steps of polishing, fuming, exposing, developing, and gilding parts of the daguerrean dance, I feel as if in a trance; waiting for the final reveal during final drying stage, is like waiting for the morning, when with first blinks of freshly opened eyes, I can still see the colors that danced before me in my slumber.

On Presentation:
  Daguerreotype’s intrinsic potential for wide variety of color through effects of refraction and opalescence were just of the many untapped potentials I saw in the process.  I hear modern makers refer to instances when a plate has strong opalescent effect as ‘a bit of good luck’, while I wanted to investigate all the potential it had to offer.  If you ever held an abalone shell in your hand, and watched the colors play upon its surface as you let sunlight strike it at different angles, then perhaps you can imagine holding a daguerreotype and seeing, as you tilt the plate, hues of color change from gold to purple, from sea-foam green to sky blue, from bronze to steel.  Unfortunately, here’s no way to capture any of it in a still image in order to present it online…  To make matters a bit more complicated, opalescence exhibits itself strongest while the plate is tilted at a particular angle, while light is allowed to strike it from one particular side only, and the angle of light matters as well.  Conventional copying methods, such as scanners and copy stands, fail to provide flexibility needed to accurately transcribe opalescence in any accurate manner.  Thus, images presented in this blog are those of plates being held in one of the more favorable angles, and taken with a phone camera.  On one hand, it would be nice to have a ‘straight’ file, and I am currently working on a specialized copying rig, which will provide high-resolution files needed for printing.  On the other hand though, daguerreotypes are always best experienced live, and not on a pedestal or wall, but while being held in hand, so these images have a potential to remind attentive viewers of that fact.
 First variants of themes above are currently not for sale.  However, a unique interpretation of any image you see can be made on commission.  Colors and placement will vary.  While your plate will strongly resemble the one you chose me to expand upon, it will be a completely one of a kind original creation.