Assignment 2 – Inspiration

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  • #24691
    Eli Turkienicz
    Participant

    Jay Maisel is the photographer whose photos have the greatest impact on me and whose style can be very influential in my own work moving forward.

    I approached this assignment at first with great trepidation as I did not have a great knowledge of photographers and could not think of any who could have a huge influence on me. After reading the lesson material I still had not found a photographer I felt a connection with so I went on the internet and did my own research (I expect this was the point of the assignment). I viewed a number of different photographers websites with a varied degree of styles from the abstract to the compositional. I found many of them interesting but did not feel any great connection to any of them until I came across the work of Jay Maisel.

    In general, I found his use of primary colours, shapes and forms touched my own feel for what a photographer should be looking at. So many of his photographs are simple subjects with simple colour backgrounds or contrasting colour backgrounds that are vibrant and interesting.

    The theme in much of his work that I identify with is his ability to reduce familiar and known objects to simple shapes or colours. He removes the identity of the object and makes it an object or shape of a particular colour. The object is still known for what it is and that is conveyed beautifully in the shot but it is also appearing as a simple shape or form.

    The photograph below is called Red Wall and Rope and it illustrates the use of colour and shapes in Maisel’s work. The elements are recognaizable for what they are, a wall, a rope and a man but are also illustrative of their primary forms and shapes. The actual objects have been cut up to remove their primary eidentity. The man’s head ans shoulders, the full ship , the balance of the rope. This strips the objects of much of their identity so that the first impression one gets of the picture is not what the items are but the force of the colours complementing or contrasting with each other. It’s use of a simple rope to act as a line cutting through the background adds tension to the scene.

    Although not a complex photo it conveys movement and strength. In my own work I find that I like to look at everyday scenes and try to remove the reality of the scene and convey the underlying abstraction. I feel that Jay Maisel does that in much of his work and I could learn a lot by studying his work.

    #24698
    Duncan Rawlinson
    Keymaster

    Jay Maisel is an interesting guy.

    Here is a little video about him:

    He went after someone for using a highly modified version of one of his images so I removed the image you posted here. (see: http://waxy.org/2011/06/kind_of_screwed/ )

    What I like about your assignment is you went out and just did what you needed to do. You did the research and found some work you like. You will do just fine if you keep tugging at the threads of learning and knowledge like this.

    You observed a key thing in your piece. The idea that often great images are just distilled down to the bare minimum. This is the case in the image you mentioned. Simplicity and a reduction of clutter and noisiness in an image can often make for powerful photographs.

    A seemingly “simple” visual photograph can actually be quite complex in meaningful. The image you highlight is full of meaning but visually clean and simple.

    One can only hope to achieve this level of mastery of the craft.

    I encourage you to follow his work and even take a look at some of his books.

    Nice job here. Please move onto the next assignment.

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