It’s still about what’s in the picture

I like what I’m seeing as I continue with the overlays. It’s a new way of working for me –– different than the shoot>edit>show approach to single image making I’ve taken for so long.

I love two things about this overlay technique. First is the pure joy I take in craft; gathering raw materials (single images) and manipulating them into a final whole (the overlay); massaging the color, blending tone and line, working in this amazing digital medium to make things. It’s an aspect of image-making – craft and process – that I’ve always loved; darkroom and now digital. I even took a one year break to write a book about craft. Engaging in craft is, for me, liberating in the way meditation is.

But the second thing I love about the technique is the more important one: I can get closer to what I’ve seen in my head and felt in my stomach for as long as I’ve had awareness of the world around me. It allows for the communication of time and space as well as the more traditional aspects of line/light/color/form/gesture. Single images are overlayed to become more than the sum of the parts, creating what becomes a new image of what the memory of being there looks like. I get the feeling of time passing when I look at these overlays.

All of this said, I know how seductive the first things –– craft and technique –– are and how they can be emphasized at the expense of concept and content. It’s all too easy for me to get sucked down the rabbit hole of endless technical tweaks and ooo-wow effects, so I remind myself here that the single images making up the overlays have to be strong on their own –– good quality ingredients, so to speak. Technique on its own, but without good ingredients, is just that –– technique.

I strive to keep making good self-contained single images. It’s still about what’s in the picture.

Here’s to single images; they’re the foundation of it all…

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8th Street, Washington, DC     September 26, 2014

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34th Street station, New York City     February 2, 2015

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