Did You Make Art Today? – The Swanko Solution

Mon, Jul 19, 2010

Blogs, Fearless Creativity

Did You Make Art Today? – The Swanko Solution

I have a friend who asks at the end of a shoot, “Did you make art today?” “I think so” was my typical response because I’m never sure what I do with my camera will ever be considered art exactly.  Thinking back, it’s probably because I’ve assessed too many contact sheets and digital proofs filled with prosaic visual records.

Classically, visual attention can be registered in seconds when viewing photos. See it, scan details, like it (or not) – turn the page – on to the next. On the web we’ll hit the fwd button like a flip book. The occasional extraordinarily recorded event will slow this down. Let’s call that pace “significant attention”.

An extraordinary event brilliantly recorded will hold your attention for a minute or two. Art of the “fine” variety, however, must hold your significant attention everlastingly.

The last half of my photography life has been an obsession with reducing detail. Less is more but not always easy in commercial applications. If you’ve ever tried to get away with dead black shadows, blown highlights and partially obscured product you know from what I speak.

Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy

I thought of this quote before discovering someone much more intelligent said it first.  I was at a show listening to bluegrass virtuosos play so fast that it was hard to discern a space between notes.  It made me realize that there was only one interpretation possible.  There were no spaces for me to think or feel anything but the energy of their content.”  – From a post dated – Dec. 17, 2009.

The objective is to gain significant attention as long as possible ahead of an inevitable boredom strike. Offer enough detail to entice an empathic exchange; leave room for interpretation for with no space between the notes boredom strikes fast.

Instinctively, owners of the iPhone Apps Hipstamatic and Swanko Lab know this.  Instant analog art automatically obscures enough detail to give your most pedestrian recording significant attention. It’s what’s behind the craze; easy, fast, shareable, instant art – sometimes of the fine variety.

Both Apps are grab bags of washed out highlights, muted blotchy colors, unpredictable tonal shifts, lens flair, dark edges, dust spots, scratches and numerous “add in” color effects; like shuffling through an old shoebox of treasured snaps 20 years premature.

Samples from the Hipstamatic Flickr Display:

Art, fine art, Photography, Process, technology

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