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  1. #1
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Group Commission Project: Pixelation

    APUG friends,

    I have been gathering my thoughts for a conceptual series on the subject of "Pixelation."

    This includes a few image ideas that I continue to refine. In the current context, I believe that this is a very interesting topic to pursue, but I have concluded that I'd really like to know what others might make of the subject.

    So.. this is an idea for a group project. I am soliciting your participation and your image ideas, and I will support small projects as best I can by organizing cordial critique and some payment for images that say important things about the theme and can be included in an eventual series. I can't say offhand how big the series will be, but I estimate ~20 images.

    If your work is included in the resulting series, then you'd receive some symbolic nonzero payment from me and colleagues involved. If the series as a whole looks good as a set, then we will pursue publication... proceeding, of course, with the full cooperation of those who provided successful submissions.

    Let me say a few words about the subject. "Pixelation," to me, is more than merely separating an image into pixels... it is about that literal transformation of the image, but Pixelation is also about the digital society, about exchange of information, about connections or lack thereof, about technology driving art and fashion in new directions. Pixelation represents a whole culture that continues to stir debate and emotion... yet it's something that started changing our culture quite a long time ago. For some of us, the first exposure to pixelation was with digital wristwatches back in the 70s! How have digital technologies affected the way we see? And so forth. And it'd be totally fine with me if somebody could make some effective art related to this subject that doesn't have to say anything specific. The idea is meant to be a catalyst, not a limiter.

    Please note, in case there is any misunderstanding: this is not intended to be an anti-digital series. I think we have the talent assembled here and at partner sites to do much better than that.

    If this project has legs, then I will set up some transparent structure and I will solicit help from a few of you with experienced eyes to help me review images. I expect that some written accompaniment will also be in order, so I'll need help with that too.

    For starters, I'd really like to hear some thoughts on this. Are you interested?
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I think it's an interesting subject and idea, and am interested in participating.
    My limiting factor is other time consuming commitments, especially now that school is starting to ramp up.
    Thread bookmarked.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #3
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Thanks Thomas. As I was just saying to someone else in PM, this is not a matter of urgency. At this point I'd just like to plant the seed and let people think on it. There's no timeframe or deadline... it's just meant to catalyze ideas. I also have tons of work to do, especially for the next 6 months during which I have two full time jobs

    All that said, it'd be great to work with you on something!
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  4. #4

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    One of the aspects of our digital culture that seems at odds with itself is how digital has made us both more personal and less personal at the same time. We can now take photos we'd never have taken in the film era because the middleman, the photo developer, is removed, thus we can be far more intimate (or obscene) than ever before. On the other hand, digital has made us less personal. I was listening to an NPR interview with George Clooney the other day and he remarked on how often people will say "I met George Clooney today!", when all they really did was observe him through the interface of their cell phones trying to take his picture.

    You may be surprised at how varying the entries will be. One man's digital savior is another man's digital curse.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Yes, this is one of the many paradoxes of modern life, isn't it? I was just remarking to Thomas that you can now walk into a cafe - a place long associated with social interaction- and you'll typically see a dozen people hunkered down over a dozen laptops and smartphones. Yes, they are better connected than ever before... but they are also so much more isolated from the local, from the here and now. This effect is a big part of my attempts to get certain college administrators to realize that the web is a two-edged sword.

    But anyway, these topics are precisely the sort of thing that I think could form a compelling, cohesive series.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6

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    This is interesting. In a previous age perhaps we would have said atomisation and spoke of how technology has atomised us from the tradesman now that we have all these labour-saving devices as a product of the atomic age.

    I suppose the telegraph did much the same as did the railways to the coaching business.

    There's probably a photo project here in examining the debris of these technological revolutions. The waste of previous ages. Industrial archaeology. Ex-coaching inns, mile stones on post roads, tradesman's entrances (and exits).
    Steve.

  7. #7
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Is pixelation a word? I think it should be pixelisation.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    It's a word now Steve If it wasn't before, then even better.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9
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    This sounds interesting, but I'm trying to "visualize" it... and I can't!! Probably my own lack of imagination, but how do you see the look of the images? I mean, a pictures of folks hovered over laptops at a Starbucks seems all too literal, but I'm not sure how one can get at the idea of connection/disconnection and the pixelated life in pix. (Pardon the pun.)

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Suzanne, I don't plan to post images of my own for a while, to avoid making any potential colleagues from feeling that they have to go for a certain look or style, but the images I have been working on are all over the place, in terms of appearance and technique. I started with a print literally pixelated by first forming an enlarged neg on a bunch of small glass plates and then printing those. That got me started. Another idea involves prints made from hand-cut LF negs which have certain subparts rearranged. Another idea -by far the hardest to pull off and I am still working on the technicals of it- involves colour sep negs in which colours have been displaced. That is a "chromatic aberration"

    For some time I gathered these ideas and then I started wondering what others might do with the theme.....

    As film photographers, what I think we'd like to imagine is that within every pixel is still even more detail. We tend to fret about continuity of tone, and connection of forms etc. when we think of pixels. Thats' just the literal part of it. Then there are more abstract issues...
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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