Photographing museum visitors through a plastic sheet

On this page I share with you the images that I see looking through the camera lens with 4 short video clips.  The video clips provide a glimpse of what I see in real-time during image capture.  All the video segments were taken at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as part of a 3 year long self-produced project to create the Unaltered State of Reality Collection from the museum space.


Much of my creative inspiration is drawn from three interrelated sources; (1) Paul Strand's work, where I learned the art of seeing, (2) French Impressionism, where I learned composition and style, and (3) a near death experience, that taught me how ethereal and momentary life can be.  Together, these influences shape and inspire me to look deeply into a subject of interest, often over years of study and observation, to capture momentary images.  As I study a subject I think about what is in the environment, or location scene that I can naturally incorporate into the images that I take.  I study how light changes throughout the day, weeks, months and years and it's effect on the environment and subject.  Because public spaces are generally dynamic, I observe the movement within the space that further evolves my thought process on the images that I conceive.  Philosophically, I mentally find a place of quietude to observe the world around me while surrounded by constant activity.  This "Zen" state of mind allows me to see an environment from a fresh perspective.  As I capture photographs threads form that lead me further into the subtleties of what I see before me.  This real-time vision is captured in my work.


In the first video above, I show a plastic sheet blowing in the wind from above while museum visitors move below.  By using a specific focal point and lens aperture to control depth of field, I can express the imagery in my mind.

Photographing abstract shapes and color off a blowing sheet of plastic

In this second video, I show plastic sheeting from an erected tent covering the museum's outside café seating area blowing in the wind during a rainstorm.  As I watch the abstracted shapes change I envisioned abstract still photographs, some of which have been used to create Photo Anagrams.  This is one example of seeing what is in an environment, then exploiting that environment for visual effect as I take photographs.

Photographing museum visitors walking behind a perforated copper (Cu) panel wall

In this third video, visitors to the de Young Museum are walking to the main entrance of the museum.  The video shows visitors walking behind a perforated copper panel wall from inside the Koret Auditorium.  The perforated wall provides a unique and distinctive patterning to the external space as people move past the wall to the entrance of the museum.  Observing this inspired me to capture photographs of the visitors in an impressionistic style using the building's unique design.  This effect was further exploited by panning the camera during exposures adding an ethereal quality to the panned images.

Photographing museum visitor reflections off windowpanes

This last video segment shows visitor reflections from a compressed angle of a glass wall spanning some 75 feet in length.  The sharp angle provides a means to take a transparent window and make it reflective.  By using a long focal length lens I compressed the field into vertical striped (window frames) that add a design element into the image from the building's architectural design.

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