Wednesday, February 28

Presenting The Fulton Theater

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This is my masterpiece. Hey, I didn't say it was "a" masterpiece... see the wording there? It simply accomplished everything I wanted it to.

BACKGROUND: The Fulton Opera House is one of, or maybe THE, oldest continually operating legitimate theater houses in America. It has been lovingly restored and the interior rivals many of the New World's great halls. Certainly there are no third class cities in America who have anything superior to this gem. Most importantly, it is a theatrical house where an excellent professional theater company and a superb regional symphony reside.

With those things in mind, I wanted to present the building as a theatrical fantasy. I wanted it to appear as a perspective defying stage set where the roll-away front could be whisked aside to reveal a dramatic stage. I wanted it to resonate theatrical colors and eye popping magic.

So this is what I did. See how it glows? Imagine the wildly gel'ed klieg lights popping through the cracks between the facade and the stage and then flaring into the night sky. See how the marquee glitters? It's about theater, art, IMAGINATION! Can't you hear the music? I even went for the road sign to create high tension to fill the unrelated space on the right with negative space of an imagination-worked-reality of the real streetscape. But not a real one at the same time. See how it sits in the city, yet in its own dazzing place. All of it a great, gaudy, glittery, stage set of dramatic excess.

You should see this image blown up to monstrous size.

BUT...

You know what will happen if I post this creation on the various photography forums? I guarantee you that people will complain about the sign. They will argue that the intensity of the colors are "unreal", that the image looks artificial (Hey Ted, it's crooked!"). And that no one... NOT ANYONE will wonder what I had in mind when I lovingly worked this thing to life.

There will be reviewers who will notice that the pedestrian appears drawn instead of photographed (he is). That the borders are allowed to simply come into existence (right, like a proscenium arch). That it is not tack sharp (true, like a stage set viewed under intense lighting from the mezzanine). That it does not look like a photograph!

They will impose the usual tests of: color, lighting, form, shape, texture, dimensionality, and conformity with maybe three tedious methods of composition. And as soon as any one of the tests fails to result in an answer that's a perfect fit... they will have found a reason to say, "No!" to my masterpiece.

And not one of them will wonder. Wonder about performing artists who have moved hundreds of thousands of spectators for over two hundred years with dazzling shows from behind this showy facade. Nor will they wonder about how they might depict the abstract meaning of "theater". Because, they do not think abstractly, grasp intangibles or meaning… so that they cannot wonder about wonder... or my intent.

And they will miss my little masterpiece. So... so while I have posted it one time on one of those forums... and while I learned all of this stuff from posting and watching so many other posts on those forums...

This is the only place now... here and on my website... that my masterpiece will hang.
For you...

And I hope that it will make you wonder about what I wondered about. And how you might visually wonder about the same sort of thing. And maybe...

Maybe...

You will wonder why the great bulk of rather serious photographers are wondering only about technique or craft, and not art.

2 comments:

mcmurma said...

I like that this piece is everything that others may criticize. It has its own presence. Even in the thumbnail it looks 3D, like a stage backdrop. SO much depth.

As I noted before I am in awe of how you manage these images to achieve this kind of effect. I like it, but I, for one, really don't want to understand its technical creation much beyond that. I find myself wanting to view more images these days, just to keep the waters fresh, as it were. I'm afraid viewing and commenting on too much Byrne will lead me too far in that direction, and prompt me to attempt things that I'd rather appreciate for their own sake as oppposed to trying them for myself.

And even as I say these things I wonder if it's true... Do I really want to remain ignorant of the techniques employed here, or am still trying to decipher them in my own way, without cheating, before I attempt to create any such majesty on my own. I'm not sure.

Whatever the case, I appreciate the craft, and admire the art. Thanks,

-Michael

advman said...

What a wonderful realization of the concept "theater". Goodness, how much time you must have spent on that! I do much less ambitious things in Photoshop and I certainly know what it takes me.

I see how you try and try again to get people on forums and websites to engage themselves with art the way you are, and I see how you fail in that. I haven't followed your Photosig adventure, but what I saw from the beginnings was discouraging at best. It's not your fault, it's not their fault. It is a case of mismatched expectations.

Too many people can't appreciate art, most people don't make it, and of those who do, most don't know that they do. The photographic websites and forums are as they are not by chance, they simply reflect the way the general public sees art, and especially photographic art.

This changes not a thing. You have to live with it. You are an exotic, you'll be it forever. That's no reason to give up, no reason to grumble, it's a consequence of being an artist. If everybody appreciates it, then it's obvious. Art is avant-garde.

Like your masterpiece.

Andreas