Thursday, July 31, 2008

August "Monthly Special": Photo within a photo

Dog shopping for a photogravure at a Paris flea market.

Stories within stories alter our perspective. When a new level of fiction appears, it can change our outlook, emotions, and ideas. Think about Shakespeare's use of the play-within-a-play. Or if you have a three-year-old obsessed with "Monsters, Inc." as I do, you might remember how the opening scene of that movie shifts from horror (the classic childhood bedtime fear of the monster in the closet) to comedy as the sudden wider perspective reveals the video monitors and the sets surrounding Mr. Bile's failed scare simulation. Incidentally, the revelation of Mr. Waternoose's corruption gets its dramatic impact from the same video-within-a-film set-up (I have seen that movie WAY too many times.) In any case, if you take a minute, I bet you can come up with other examples of art-within-art, both high- and low-brow, each with its own effect and function.

My last post hinted at this new theme with a photo of a man painting at the Oregon Coast. The photo showed what he was seeing/painting as well as what I was seeing/photographing. His painting and my photo offer two different perspectives. But as I said, my photo only touches on the theme (in the general sense of art within art), but does not quite fit this month's project.

The challenge
This month I propose the theme of "photo within a photo" as a way of exploring how we interact with photos and how photography affects our perspective. If you blog, please share the story behind your photo and link back to this page (remember to link to the URL of that specific post, not just your general blog address).

Countless variations or How two images can be better than one
The opportunities for storytelling increase with multiple photos. For example, your photo within a photo might use juxtaposition and/or repetition to do any of the following:
  • create humor or satire
  • look at change (now vs. then)
  • transcend time or place (e.g. make the absent become present)
  • reveal how your family uses photos (or doesn't)
  • make a political or social statement
  • change scale
  • play with trompe l'oeil illusions many possibilities for just one month. Are you getting ideas? I am. In fact, as usual, I can't even wait until the first day of the month to post the new challenge. Plan on a lot of posts from me this month. I hope to see a lot links from you as well.

Let the creativity begin!