February 2022: The Creative Flow, Toronto CA
Incorporating organic processes in the creation of photographs, including so-called imperfections, is an idea I foster and which led me to explore the principles of wabi-sabi. As an example, during the final stages of toning the blue toned mini-series, instead of controlling the application of the toner, the chemicals were allowed to flow and follow their own path along the photographic print.
For anyone not familiar, wabi-sabi beholds the notion that imperfection/undoneness is beautiful. Yes, the idea of beauty is subjective; this is one of many interpretations. Like a lapis or jade gemstone that is adored for its unique veining and inclusions or a diamond prized for its lack of inclusions and colour. My preference is for anything that adds character to a piece - a bit of the artisan's touch which provides authenticity to her work.
During the selection process of subjects to be photographed, I normally spend some time studying an object, looking for its distinctive wabi-sabi essence - definitely by design. For instance, looking at how the weather has affected the crevices, flaking bark and knots of a fallen tree branch, then how the light interacts with the withered branch.
To take this analogue creation process further, I don't digitally "touch up" my prints, not even dust removal. When I got the photogram series scanned, there might have been baby dust bunnies lurking in the machinery that ended in the digitized images. Or maybe the prints got a little dirty when I accidently dropped some - oopsies. Anyway, I was given the option to have the images rescanned but decided to exercise my artistic license and include the particles, since they make the photos more realistically reflect the cosmos theme… cosmic dust, background radiation, space debris and all that.
You will notice in future collections, especially the aberration project, the purposeful manual altering of photographs in any number of ways and the deliberate encompassing of currently reputed faux pas to celebrate the philosophy of wabi-sabi.
The digital image (electronically modified to appear as an aged film print) in this post was captured during one of my walks along Grenadier Pond in Toronto's High Park. The tranquil environment so enfolded me when taking the picture of the tree trunk that I didn't notice the pair of swans hanging out in the pond. I wonder if the swans (which enhanced the serene spirit of the picture) were there by design or was it a happy accident?
a little battle-worn but resolute,