190401 Spark - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

If you're near the City of Kawartha Lakes gallery at the town hall this month you'll find a show that I have some prints in. The Absolute Eye Collective show "Photo Found Modern Art" is running as part of the Spark Photo Festival; this show is an extension and an example of the work from one of our last workshops. My four prints are the ones included here – I think of them as my 'new blue line' set even though it's not as tight a grouping as I usually prefer.

There are two different ideas behind the work. One is that they are examples of clear perception, moments of clarity when we can see how the world actually looks before we reflexively reduce them to things with names. Once seen, the aim is to capture that perception in an image. This is lines and light, not any particular object, and hopefully it will be enjoyed that way without the usual photographer's compulsion of figuring out what is it really.

I've posted this before, but with a warm colour tone that I wasn't as happy with and that didn't fit the set. I prefer this edit.

So the second idea behind the workshop and the show is that sometimes we will steer in a more art-oriented direction, where composition and aesthetics join with the reflexive ease that we learn through the process. My inclination is toward minimalism and abstraction, photos of nothing, which fits in as a subset of the show's theme of photography that looks like found American modern art.

But don't worry, the show includes a broad range of work from the other exhibitors, so it's still worth seeing.

This is my favourite of the set. It looks different in every reproduction size, or in a in print versus on the screen. Here it's much bolder and more saturated, while in person it's subtle and shifts according to light and viewing distance. 

The first photo has some impact, but there's not much beyond that so it's safe to move on fairly promptly. The second and third are less grabby but have a bit more nuance that emerges with longer viewing, which is what I aim for. The fourth photo is the only one that has its own opinion, and I'm not sure that's something I can predict.

It doesn't particularly matter to the content, but for the show I've titled these Line, Approach, Break, and Key. (Prints are always available by request.)