Sunday, March 24, 2013

In this week's JUXT showcase, "not quite twins"

I'm so honored to have one of my images featured in this week's "1000 Word showcase" by the team of mobile artists JUXT:

I took this just over a week ago, down at the Mission San Xavier (the same day I took the photos for the previous post.)..."Forced" to come up with a title when I submitted it to JUXT's Flickr group, I ended up with "not quite twins."  

Below is what I wrote for the showcase, including how I created the image:

A few days ago I was able to leave work earlier than usual–a clear and warm spring afternoon–so I decided to go down to the Mission San Xavier del Bac. I hadn’t been in a while, and It’s only a 15 minute drive from downtown Tucson; the combination of desert sky, Native American culture and 18th-century Spanish colonial architecture is endlessly photogenic. The Mission was originally founded in 1692, and the present structure dates from the 1780′s. The twin-towered facade is dominated by simple Moorish-influenced towers flanking an intricate Baroque entryway. The eastern tower was never completed–to my eye, it’s the asymmetry that makes the proportions more interesting. (The almost-symmetry of human faces is what often gives us visual personality, and it’s fascinating to find it in man-made structures.) The whitewashed towers with crisp shadows against the afternoon sky reminded me of some of Belgian painter Magritte’s famously surreal scenes–which made me want to experiment with isolating some of the Mission’s architectural details against the sky.

First I used Michael Baronovic’s (@MishoBaranovic) new Perspective Correct app to straighten the lines of the towers. Then I cropped the bottom, ‘ground’-half, off. Using PicFrame app, I ‘mirrored’ the remaining facade, eliminating the frame between the two sections of the vertical diptych, resulting in a seamless, symmetrical, floating-in-the-sky structure. For the rest, I used snapseed. I de-saturated the image, then used the grunge filter, choosing a texture that I find mimics parchment or handmade-paper. I like the juxtaposition of photographically realistic detail imposed on a background that evokes old surfaces used for illuminated manuscripts and East Asian scroll paintings. Finally, I warmed the temperature a bit to get a sepia tone, finishing with the center focus tool for a vignette effect.

(Last November was when I first started to play around with using cropped symmetry for a surreal effect. To see those first experiments, click here.)

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