Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Project 66: Series #4 - Artistic License


Artistic License

Project 66 Series #4
Tim Mulcahy Photography
September 6, 2016

Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC

By its very nature photography typically requires an existing “subject” - a landscape, a person, a flower, a building or a whatever - as the starting point for image creation.  This reliance on an existing subject poses a serious challenge in the creation of unique, creative images that transcend the innate objectivity of the photographic process, thereby distinguishing them from the glut of "pictures" out there in the ever-expanding photoverse.  To succeed, the creative photographer should use the object or objects before the lens as the substrates for, rather than the subjects of, the creative process.  They are the raw material and not themselves the final artifact.  The ultimate objective of each photographer should be the use of this raw material in the creation of compelling photographs bearing their unique visual signature.

In my case, photography’s default objectivity poses an additional challenge.  The raw material for my own work often includes the creative works of others, particularly architecture and sculpture.  Believing that in such cases images that are too objective or too faithful in their reproduction represent a form of visual plagiarism, I am sensitive to a need to creatively differentiate the images I create from the original subjects. I aspire to create unique, visually-interesting compositions that put a premium on visual elements that I value, for example the relationships between geometric shapes and the light and shadows that accent them.  For me creative vision is a self-imposed, honorary royalty payment to the original artists, a mandatory artistic licensing-fee that only when paid justifies the use of their art in the creation of my own.


Project 66 Series #4 provides a classic case in point.  For each of the six images included in the series I have attempted to put my creative signature on works of art – the architecture of the Hirshhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC and select items in its collection.

I hope I have succeeded in paying just royalties.


The Inner Circle

Number 9. Number 9. Number 9.


The Templar's Gate

Awaiting the Arousal of the Sleeping Muse

Reflections of Thomas Struth's "Pergamon Museum I" on the exhibit case
displaying Constantin Brancusi's "Sleeping Muse".

Ribbon of Light and Shadow

Interpretation of Sergio Camargo's "Column".