Currently, I am interested in the potential for surrealist expression with digital cameras. Certainly it has become far easier to create photographic deceptions (for want of a better word) lately and I have already created some composite images which, at first glance at least, would pass as a single shot photograph.
These days, without the time-intensive practice of developing film and subsequently the full darkroom process, one can view one’s images in-camera and, in tandem with Photoshop or one of the many other photographic software packages available, manipulate the image endlessly with a high degree of sophistication.
My previous experience of photosurrealism was, back in the days of SLRs and real film, the random effects of double exposures. This was, for me anyway, achieved by making a mark on the film when it is first loaded in the camera which matches to a corresponding mark in the camera body. Pictures are taken at half the estimated normal exposure. When the film is used up, one rewinds the film, but not completely. If you did rewind it completely, I devised a method of retrieving the end by sticking a piece of double sided tape on a card and poking it into the film cartridge.
The sellotape latches on to the surface of the film and, with some patience, the end can be drawn out.
Then one reloads the same film in the camera, matching up the marks so that the exposed frames match up to the overlaid exposed images and again are taken at half the usual exposure.
The results are variable but often very interesting, especially if you mix for instance, portraits with landscapes or close-ups of still life with a mass of vegetation.
Later I did some photoshop collage illustrations for the magazine The Third Alternative, most of which had a surrealist edge.
Now, I’m finding that the very act of subverting reality by mixing things up unobtrusively, rather than obviously, is interesting me greatly. I have photographed people in the street, used photographs of people I’ve met on the internet and combined them to produce an image which could have been shot as regular image, but is a situation which has never happened.
In one of these, I attached a friend’s head to the body of a man I shot in Shepherds Bush, and placed this chimera on the platform of my local tube station.
It looks realistic enough, but what I like is that there is something ‘not quite right’ about these pictures, something which disturbs the mind.