Ruth Carll's picture

Purple Rain

I paint these pieces, for the purpose of photographing them. The photographed pieces are brighter and have more depth than the actual paintings. The photograph is the end goal of my process and I often just paint over the paintings!

I often get questions/feedback about the practice of photographing these paintings. I appreciate these and value the perspective! I have also dwelled on this and in most cases fall into the group of not photographing art pieces as the artistry belongs to the artist who made the original. There is also something magical about original works. But.... there are five reasons that combined to send me on this path with these painting and I'd love to share them - not to defend or change either side of these opinions as I hold them both as valid. Rather just to share my process.

The first is that there is a glowy depth to the pieces in photograph that I love. I take the photos before I apply multiple coats of poly to the painting because the poly is not matt finish and I get reflection spots on the photos if taken afterwords. Even without the poly I need to take these in very low light on a longer exposure in order to avoid light reflecting on the uneven paint surface. After coating, the paintings become richer in color but there is something about the infinite depth of a photograph that is not quite there in the painting.

These paintings have a life of there own. The chemicals that are added to the paint create motion even after the manipulation ends. Many more times then not something undesirable happens somewhere on the piece but elsewhere awesome results occur. Rather than losing everything, photography allows something great to be captured while the overall piece may be a bust.

There is a more controlled element of composition that can achieved also. Don't get me wrong, there is a great deal of compositional intention in the paintings. The buggers often have their own mind through! Photographing them allows me to create a composed image that is not posible otherwise.

The fourth reason is that they are my paintings and therefore these images are an extension of my own work. I would not feel the same way about taking photos like these of someone else's painting.

Last but not least, unless I have a show, you'd all have to come to my attic in order to see these!

90 · f/9 · 6 · ISO 100
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