Friday, September 28, 2012

SHADOW PLAY

My cousin and I chanced upon a marvelous Man Ray & Lee Miller exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.  (You can follow the link for information and videos.  The exhibit ends soon.)  Though the focus of the exhibit was the collaboration and personal relationship between the two, the images rekindled my fascination for Surrealism and monochrome photography.

René Magritte, one of my favorite surrealists, once said (paraphrased here) that his paintings were meant to cloak the ordinary and banal in mystery.  Perhaps that is what I like about chasing shadows in black & white.  The resulting images might not necessarily be surrealist.  But they are cloaked in mystery.

So, I dove through my archives searching for old, black & white shadow images.


Branch shadows on our backyard wall
from the old house


Ordinary objects metamorphose and sprout new dimensions within their shadows.  Sometimes sinister. Other times, softened.  It's like trying to spot shapes in the clouds.  And who's to say what the truth is -- the tangible mass or the shadow it casts?  


Tree shadows on the backyard wall
from the old house


Interestingly, shadow scenes seem rather Oriental to me.  Perhaps because they bring to mind back-lit silhouettes, shuffling quietly behind Japanese paper screens.



Shadows in the Master Balcony
from the new house

Wouldn't it be great to slide the screen shut and melt into the shadows until ready to come out in full color?



20 comments:

  1. Reminds me of oriental shadow puppet theatre!

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  2. Love the René Magritte quote. There are different parts of the day we get dancing pictures in our house too. It always makes us stop and stare. Beautiful. Xxxx

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  3. The last image is especially haunting and eery. I love black and white: photography, art, film, clothing..
    I very much relate to the idea, as Magritte stated, of cloaking "the ordinary and banal in mystery."

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  4. Such an artistic way to see the world, my dear friend. You can see where others are blind.
    I am honoured that you can see me.Each one of your comment is the best present.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  5. i love your “melting into the shadow until ready to comeout in full color”. what a great story would that be!
    x sandra

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  6. Very inspiring :)

    xx

    www.sickbytrend.com

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  7. Lee Miller was so interesting. I saw an exhibition which covered quite a lot of her life and work. Entering the concentration camps must have been a make or break experience for so many people - impossible for me to even write about. War and fashion - what a strange combination, and very much a woman of her time.
    I quite like shadow pictures done with colour - doesn't have to be naturalistic, I guess.


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  8. Actually your images do look surreal to me. As if from a black and white movie by one of the Surrealists.
    Thanks so much for your comment.
    xx
    Maya

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  9. Your writing is so pretty, I love making out shapes from clouds. I've recently moved into a mews house so the photos were taken near where I live!

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  10. i love shadows and black and white..surrealism can create such levels of beauty and meaning..ordinary life seems extraordinary if we can imagine to do all these things..and the last photo!

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  11. Ah, shadow woman - you are something of a master in seeing opportunities for shadow play and quietly capturing them. I imagine you wielding your camera rather like a butterfly net. That third image is especially beautiful.
    Man Ray and Lee Miller, what a wonderful combination. They are two of my favorite photographers for very different reasons.

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  12. Beautiful post! It made me wish I knew more about photography. The words and images together did make me think of the famous: "Am I a man dreaming of being a butterfly? Or a butterfly dreaming of being a man?" (I might have paraphrased.) Lovely! I still say you should have a photo-essay book!

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  13. They are beautiful. I very much love 'abstract' photography - be it accidental or intended. And Man Ray was the first photographer I admired - him and Ansel Adams. xoxo

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  14. J, these are BEAUTIFUL. I, too, am a fan of Man Ray, and especially, Magritte. When I first started doing photoshop - before it was invented, when I had to use a more primitive program - what I was seeking was a cross between Magritte and Maxfield Parish.

    Oh this is incredible - I've been on a blog fast (my own, and visiting) for so long, and I see here, every single one of my favourite blog friends (and, alas, even an ex friend) have found you. What a small world. I want to click on all their links and see what they're up to - but I can't. Husband is calling, brilliant sunshine Sunday beckons.

    I've missed you! And everyone I know is moving to California. Hopefully we'll be visiting sometime soon!

    xox

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  15. p.s. yes - with Veshoevious - it is remniscent of oriental shadow puppetry. That scene in The Year of Living Dangerously: a film I'm still patiently waiting to get on LoveFilm - it doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

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  16. really like the way you put art in your life

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  17. Man Rey is a favorite.

    I love how the shadow play in these photos is soft and sinister

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Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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