Exhibition - December 31, 2011 - February 7, 2012 • Midland Arts and Antiques Market, Indianapolis

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ron - The Wall Series

Wall Series, Triptych, Truth From Perceptions (click on all photographs to enlarge)

So, it's a wall.  It's just a wall, right?  Why would anybody bother to photograph a wall?  I'll try to explain.

• Interesting - just after I wrote the sentence above "Self Righteous Wall" by Ryan Bingham began to play on the stereo.  Yes it was a total fluke.  This was the first time that I had listened to that album! •

When I first came upon the wall that is in the series of photographs and in the accompanying video, I visually experienced the the elements and materials that shaped the wall's form and construction as well as the erosion of its face.  The light played across the wall revealing the reflectivity of its surface textures.

View of the wall in context with surrounding buildings
Upon closer observation I began to see the wall's history and evidence of contemporary visitors.

I realized that a building used to exist where I was standing as evidenced by the outline of the old interior staircase on the whitewashed cement wall.  Drilled holes and other imperfections revealed no longer existent structural elements.  Time was taking a toll on the cement wall and the underlying brick structure.  Parts of the cement wall that was littered with random marks, gashes and spalls had fallen away from the brick.

Visitors to the wall had made their mark, or marks, either by simply scratching into or painting the wall leaving evidence of their calling or proclaiming their devotion to another.  Others took the time to etch shapes into the surface using the wall as a sort of an outdoor sketch book.

Metering for the last photograph in the slide show
So, in front of me was this wonderful wall, a facade full of abstractions, history, personal messages, expressive doodles, textures, shapes, forms, shadows and highlights.  At this point it was my mission to discover, conceptualize and visualize the various elements in the wall and present them, and what I felt about them, through my photography.

I have visited the wall several times.  Each time my understanding and view of the wall became more refined.  Seeing more clearly I was able to progressively make better photographs.  Photographing the wall has been a work in progress.  In this post I'm presenting a slide show of what I feel are the best photographs of the wall in the order that they were made.

This series of photographs is closely connected with Alfred Stieglitz' concept of Equivalence which was also practiced by Minor White, Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, all photographers whose work I greatly admire.  The subject of Equivalence has been written about extensively so I will not delve too in too deeply with this post.  

Within Minor White's 1963 essay, Equivalence:  The Perennial Trend, there are these two passages:  

"...in practice Equivalency is the ability to use the visual world as the plastic material for the photographer's expressive purposes.

When a photographer presents us with what to him is an Equivalent, he is telling us in effect, "I had a feeling about something and here is my metaphor of that feeling."

These two passages do a good job conveying the concept of the series of wall photographs that are a part of my project "Truth From Perceptions."  Photographs such as these do defy a simple description although I have made an effort in this post to detail the inspiration for making them.

Making the first photograph of the Triptych

Here is a short video of when I recently visited the wall:

Here is the slide show of images from The Wall Series, in the order that they were made:

Click here to go to the Flickr page of "Truth From Perceptions" where you can view the "Wall Series."

(Candid photographs by Satch)