Last month I talked about my use of intense colors and ‘false’ colors. Now I want to talk about simple color.
I didn’t just push Ektachrome two or three stops; I tortured it. Sometimes I developed high-speed film in C-100 color negative developer or Rodinal black and white developer. Other times I flashed it with yellow or blue lights halfway through development. That process is called the Sabbatier effect and sometimes also called solarization. Those were some of the ways I created the colors that I did. And almost every photo I ever took was backlighted.
I photographed this image which is titled Simplicity—Blue and Black in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, through a dense blue filter. The technique I used is called panning. Panning means you move your camera to follow the object in motion and expose the image at a slow shutter speed typically about 1/30 of a second. This photograph’s web page is here.
Almost 30 years ago in San Francisco at a Seals and Crofts concert I saw an amazing 13-minute film during the intermission. I never forgot it because that short film became an influence on my methods of photography. The film was called Pas de Deux. This is how the Canadian National Film Board describes it: “Norman McLaren takes a look at the choreography of ballet, with cinema effects that are all that you would expect from this master of improvisation in music and illustration. By exposing the same frames as many as ten times, the artist creates a multiple image of the ballerina and her partner (Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren). A bare, black stage and back-lit figures, plus the remote, airy music of panpipes, produce a quiet and detachment similar to that of Lines. A film without words.”
You can find a few videos of McLaren’s films on YouTube. Enter Norman McLaren in the Search box or view them here with less distraction. I also recommend the video titled Phantasy.
Here are two frames that I captured from Pas de Deux. I replaced their black backgrounds with blue and slightly sharpened the dancers.
For me, watching those videos is another form of meditation. They bestow peace, clarity, and beauty.
The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer. — Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. — Anne Frank
Simplicity without a name
Is free from all external aim.
With no desire, at rest and still,
All things go right as of their will.
Tao, Tao Te Ching (J. Legge, tr)