June 22 2019

Shallow planes

Walking the dog is great.

The dog amongst the woods

The world just keeps throwing up these little compositions, and a particular kind keeps catching my eye. It’s invariably on the floor, and invariably shallow — an inch or so max. Sometimes there’s a feeling of narrative, other times it’s just a “field”.

A shallow plane: tree stump partially obscured by autumn leaves

Mulling over where that kind of visual interest comes from, I’ve always loved painters who play with that line between object, surface and picture.

Me stood in front of a Willem de Kooning painting
Look at this fanboy, what a chump

And I took a snap on holiday that for some reason I’ve always been inordinately pleased with, which seemed to me to have a related play between abstraction and figuration.

Pavement offerings in Bali
No-one liked this on Instagram

From snapping bits and bobs on the phone, it finally morphed into a bit more of a formal exercise. But still “fun”, honest.

As an unrelated thing, I’d been mucking about in Illustrator doing “rules based” generative stuff. The whole:

  • create a grid
  • attach something to each point on the grid
  • treat that thing with some randomness attributes-wise
Geometric squares generated by Illustrator script
Thinking I'm Joshua Davis twenty years too late

So I’ve formalised “shallow plane” stuff in a similar way by applying a few (admittedly loose) rules:

  • shoot at the ground from straight above (near as dammit anyway, got no tripod)
  • must be a found composition, no shifting of objects etc.
  • no cropping after the fact
  • 4:3 ratio please

Going forward, my plan is to fill up this site with pretentiously titled pictures.