Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Epoxy is fun but difficult to photograph

 (Above:  Detail of Freiheit III.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Over the weekend Steve and I poured epoxy on several new works.  The first pour was done on Saturday. The second on Sunday. 

(Above:  Me in my tyvek suit with the propane torch in my hands ... with Freiheit III through VI on the garage's work table.  Second epoxy pour.)

One of the pieces was Freiheit III.  I shared in-progress images of this piece HERE

 (Above:  Freiheit III leaning against one of the door units.)

The challenge was to see just how large I might be able to go with this approach.  The final measurement is 45" x 46 1/2" but it will officially be larger when it is put into a "floater frame".  At this size, taking a picture is very difficult.  No matter where I put it, there's a significant reflection.

I like the reflection. It is unique. The artist grade epoxy also includes UV light filtering which will prevent the colors from fading.  A piece of glass this large is ultra expensive and prone to breakage ... but still, it is hard to photograph well.  Some reflection is needed in a picture in order to show that there is epoxy but I'm not sure how much is a "good thing". Certainly, the reflection of the black-and-white linoleum tiles is not a "good thing"!

(Above:  Freiheit III on the dry mount and Freiheit VI on the floor leaning against the shelf.)

Generally, the reflection is lessened at an angle but not always!  When sitting on top of my dry mount press, the electrical outlet and two pictures on the wall are definitely clear in this photo!

(Above:  Detail of Freiheit III.)

Yet, the reflections do show that the surface is epoxy ... shiny and ultra clear!

(Above:  Freiheit IV on the window sill.)

With smaller pieces, I can almost control the photographs.  Here's Freiheit IV sitting on the window sill on my front porch.  Reflected in the window is the view across the street.  Reflected on the artwork is my silhouette as I stood behind the camera on its tripod.

To eliminate some of the reflections, I snapped the photo with a ten second delay. During those ten seconds, I held up black foam-centered boards.  One of the black foam-centered boards has a hole cut into its center ... for the camera's lens to peek through.  As a result, the reflections are minimized.  The window is amazingly reflecting the view across the street (porch columns), the interior room (frame above a fireplace), and my hand holding up one of the sheets of black foam-centered board.

 (Above:  Freiheit IV.  Unframed: 24" x 10 1/4". Dimension in its floater frame: 26 3/4" x 13".)

Once cropped, the picture looks pretty good but there's likely not enough reflection to show the epoxy coating.  I will likely have to work on getting better images!

 (Above:  Freiheit IV hanging beside one of my Large In Box Series pieces.)

I slightly limited the palette for Freiheit IV to better coordinate with the burgundy/brown floater frame that I already had.  Above is a photo of it hanging beside one of my Large In Box pieces.)

 (Above:  Freiheit V.  Unframed: 23 1/2" x 19". In a large, black floater frame: 28 3/4" x 24 1/4".)

Freiheit V was also created to measurements for an existing floater frame.  Later this week, Freiheit III and VI will be put into smaller, black floater frames. 

 (Above:  Skyscrapers I and II.  The taller one is 26"; the shorter is 19".)

I am also experimenting with a new idea ... long, skinny pieces called Skyscrapers!  With luck, I should have at least a dozen-and-a-half of them in various lengths.  These combine the architectural concept behind my In Box Series (an aerial view to a uniquely individual urban setting) and the approach to Celestial Orbs, an installation I created a year ago.  Like my In Box Series pieces, I've melted holes through the layers of polyester stretch velvet.  Like the Celestial Orbs, I mounted the sealed/stiffened fabric on extremely shiny gold, 2-ply paper boards and mounted them on wood which allows them to hang approximately an inch off the wall.

I will continue experimenting.  I think they will look more attractive if I avoid using darker fabrics.  Perhaps I should cut slightly larger pieces in a single row.  Maybe I should limit the numbers of layers and/or use more metallic foiling.  There's lots of possibilities and I intend to try all of them!
(Above:  Detail of one of the Skyscrapers.)

Because the surface isn't exactly level but covered in epoxy, photographing these pieces isn't much easier than the larger ones!  I guess I just have to keep working and trying new approaches!


Sue Reno said...

Photography challenges aside, this is a really exciting way to showcase your work. Thanks for sharing your process.

khowardquilts said...

Maybe before and after photos are good to show so the quilt shows really well. Or you need to combine parts of two taken with different settings. My brother photographs waterfalls and he takes more than one photo. He combines them so that he has a good exposure of the rocks and surrounding area and the effect of the water. Both cannot be captured with the same settings.

khowardquilts said...

I had never seen this done with quilts before. I shared with a quilt group I am in.

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

You might like the free Google app for photographing things with reflections. It's called PhotoScan and is available in the app store. You use your phone to photograph the whole piece, then follow the arrow to take additional photos of each corner, and the app "averages" out your shots to get one image without reflections or glare and to square up the image. I use it often for oil paintings and it works like a charm.