Massat, Breaking Ground, 2014.
The series is intended to express the range of interaction and response we as humans have to nature through an arch of negative and positive engagements throughout the series. While I had an expressive intent I paid close attention to the formal qualities of the landscape, and figure in the composition. The subject focus is on the model representing man and their interaction with the landscape, which is accentuated through color.
The subject matter in this photo is the hoe, the silhouette figure engaging the landscape through terraforming. You might view farming as friendly or one with nature, but you clear diverse vegetation for homogeneous crops for easier harvesting. This can lead to massive plant die off from lack of variety. To make the photo convey the strife inflicted upon nature by us it’s a dark red conveying the destruction and meloncy associated with destruction and die off. To create the image I manipulated the contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue in photoshop to give it a moodier tone and richer contrast. This image is the basis for the rest in the series as far as the technical idea goes.
Massat, Concrete and Mortar, 2014.
This is the first in the series that’s a composite image of silhouette taken in the studio because I couldn’t get people on big enough schedules to get them to locations. The landscapes used in the following photos were shot over the course of 3 hours scouting locations with poses in mind when I got back to the studio. This image primarily shows the artifice man creates and uses to impose his will on the vastness of nature creating cities and walls instead of organic nature, you have dead stone. While not overturning nature such as in farming man defies nature putting obstacles in the way and supplementing nature.
Massat, The river goes on, 2014.
Man dams rivers, builds bridges over them, and builds up the embankments to stop the flooding. What we can’t do is stop the flow of the river it just keeps going only allowing to be nudged not stopped. The photo is composed to be reflective of the indomitable force of nature and to observe it’s passing. Again this image is a composite using layer styles, adjustments, and a model in the studio to create the scene.
Massat, Luscious fields, 2014
The best way to go about life is in balance, not over doing any one thing. Respecting nature, nurturing it and helping it grow, and in turn benefiting from it. This was the least expected pose it was from the model stumbling regaining her balance from a previous pose which fits, the balance of the scene. You’ll note it’s a grassy field in front of the farm that’s the ground not tilled earth. Growth and balance are the goals of the composite.
Massat, Flower’s Protector, 2014
Sometimes man protects nature and defends it from harm to strike a balance with the destruction on the opposing side. This image was hard to get balanced to not be too dark and be more stout worth and positive. The intent of having a big guy cupping a flower shielding it from the world at large is in opposition to the norm of destruction and instead forming a regal defence of the innocent a sprouting flower.
Massat, Open to the Possibilities, 2014
The model is opening up to the landscape and ready to accept what comes and seaking the knowledge that comes with it. Perhaps the most joyful relationship with nature is in this photo with a spiritual connection to the elements. Nowhere are you exposed then on a windy bridge in the middle of the river on a cloudy day. This photo is also a studio composited with the landscape from the old bridge on Latsch Island.
Massat, Stay awhile and listen, 2014
The last subject matter I approached was fishing the in the most modest and least invasive way to take from nature. You enter nature not bothering it with your passing taking just enough to sait your own hunger versus larger commercial fishing it’s a meditative experience. Here you have the most sublime interaction between man and nature neither disturbing each other coexisting.
Write up for the Class
This series was really fun to come up with it’s the first time I’ve willingly choose to use color as the focus in a series or even a photo on it’s own. What first got me going on the color idea of using 7 different colors for moods or expressions of man and nature was the number for one 7 matches nicely with number of colors in a rainbow. There was also Carrie Mae Weems some of her work she put color filters on changing them from black and white to a monochromatic color portrait instead. Can say I find her subject matter very interesting, but the way she used monochromatic color interested me enough to want to try it.
With monochromatic color schemes in mind I wanted to pick a subject matter that went well with it that I’m fond of, so going with silhouettes made sense since I’ve done that before in the studio it would be interesting to also do it outdoors in a big series. That became more of a challenge though with it being finals weekend, everyone I tried to get kept blowing me off when I called them to model. To compensate for the difficulty with weather and models I just went and took all the landscape photos soon as the weather broke then added the silhouettes into the composition how I’d have them pose if they were there in a composite. I’m really happy with the way the photos turned out it’s the most I’ve photoshoped anything for a photography class outside of a graphics class.
My series I view as being very effective because I reinforce the elements I find important in each one through positioning, framing, color, and setting. The posture I had the models display I matched to the feeling the colors evoke from hostile to repose. I still think I could make even more effective shots if I was able to have access to more models and better weather, but that’s something that I just couldn’t find during the last two weeks. I’m just excited that the shoot turned out as well as it did when I was worrying about it storming all the way through the final.
Included are my negatives of shots I considered using while exploring locations, lighting conditions, and later figure poses. One of the locations I wanted to use was the beach, but sadly all 3 were flooded, and now I think the whole island is flooded, so I couldn’t even get to the bridge again.