Saturday, November 1, 2014

Image of the Month: November 2014

What's the saying..."if life gives you lemons, make lemonade" or something to that effect.  Nearly 3 months now since the "flood of the century" here in Southeast Michigan; greater Detroit area, and residents are still deeply in the midst of basement renovation.  Being a photographer I naturally found myself capturing tons of images of the original devastation for documentation purposes.  That soon evolved into taking the more recent  "before and during" pictures, as nothing has quite yet reached the pinnacle of the "after" stage that would indicate mission accomplished of complete renovation and life back to normalcy.  

Since most, if not all of my time has been devoted to scouting, hiring, and monitoring a variety of tradespeople I yearned for a creative outlet and return to my routine of taking landscape images.  As my contractor duties escalated, escaping to capture landscape images was out of the question.  Never one to admit defeat, I began to view the renovation of my pathetic basement as a creative challenge to find the beauty and art in something tragic and mundane.  Thus the evolution of an idea and brief portfolio that is for the moment referred to as my Flood Art. As I continued gathering these "before and during" images I began to view them as a artistic challenge and make "disaster art" of the mess and chaos; the transition from damaged to new again. As a variety of tradespeople performed their magic, I began to experiment in presenting the mason work, tile removal, painting and such of the basement walls and floor as raw material for an abstract form of art. Sometimes even one original image of work in progress, for example wall repair, made an abundance of creative options, each more interesting than the previous.

© 2014, Joanne Scherf.

Here's a simple explanation of my Flood Art in the "during" phase.  I'm using a diptych format since it clearly highlights the differences from one view to another.  Here you can clearly see in it's side-by-side format the difference between the new mason repair work on the left, with my creative and abstract interpretation on the right.  Even as I write this, I'm thinking that creating art from just the before or during phase of renovation would be more interesting as abstract art since once the walls are finished the paint will cover the detailed lines of the mason work thus eliminating the intriguing patterns altogether. Something to consider as I continue with this concept.

Once I've created one or many creative interpretations of work being done on either the walls or floor, I want to present the image in it's final form, without the pre-post view the diptych provides.  So, below is the image from the right side of the diptych as a square image.  Looking at it without knowledge of the above diptych, one would never know it was actually basement windows highlighting recent mason work revealing the new mortar lines of the cinder block basement walls, on their way to the next phase of painting.

© 2014, Joanne Scherf

Another example for me to continue to search for everyday scenes and circumstances that provide an opportunity to flex my creative muscle.  Remember.....lemonade!