In early 2017, I discovered through experimentation a series of image manipulation algorithms that showed creative promise for some of my architectural images. Initially I wasn’t sure what to think of them, but throughout that year I frequently returned to the process, continuing to evolve my approach and learn from the work. In the moment I rarely felt that the result of a work session was worthwhile, but I kept returning, cultivating.
During the holidays at the end of 2017, months after I had last worked on them, I sat down one night and reviewed the whole set. I really liked many of them, and I began to believe this direction was still worth exploring. Over the next year, I sifted and sorted the initial experiments and also created several new images, culminating in the publication of Similarities, A Photographic Contemplation, in October 2018. Similarities is a collection of 24 image pairs (12 color and 12 black & white) that offer opportunities to strengthen the muscles that help us see situations from multiple perspectives.
I wrote about my thinking at the time in an essay for the Similarities book, which you can read online.
(Additional comments follow after the images...)
MORE ON SYMMETRIES
Sitting in our dark house early in the 2020 pandemic, after working on the Reflections collection for a year, with nary a reflection in sight, I started work on some new algorithmic experiments, some of which proved promising. In essence, I took a two-step “matrix-polarize” algorithm and modified it into a three-step “matrix-mirror-polarize” algorithm. Each of these steps has its own set of variables, covering a wide territory within each domain. Serializing across all three with even small changes at any of the three stages creates effectively infinite variations. I continued to work on the collection throughout the spring and summer of 2020, and have yet to explore more than a tiny bit of this creative landscape.
The Symmetries collection integrates this new algorithm, which evolved from the Similarities work, with this new source material, derived from an expanded collection of Reflections images.
You might say that Reflections presents an open-eye vision:
What do I see when I really look?
And Symmetries present a closed-eye vision:
What do I see when I can stop looking?