Dodging and burning

In this experiment I explore the application of the legacy technique; Dodge and Burn. To quote the Adobe Photoshop manual (2016);“The Dodge tool and the Burn tool lighten or darken areas of the image. These tools are based on a traditional darkroom technique for regulating exposure on specific areas of a print. Photographers hold back light to lighten an area on the print (dodging) or increase the exposure to darken areas on a print (burning). The more you paint over an area with the Dodge or Burn tool, the lighter or darker it becomes.”

This work explores a number of themes:
– the application of analogue process to digital
– the role of the shadow as opposed to light in the photographic process
– reductive reasoning to expose technological process
– issues around generative and subjective

For the duration of the photographic exposure, gestural hand movement determines the light and darker shades of the image. These areas are usually within a pictorial image. In this work, the image component has been subtracted from the technique, utilising ideas of reduction as described by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, where representational elements in the image are to be eliminated (Moholy-Nagy, 1969).

In this work, the Dodge and Burn technique itself has become the subject of the image. This is informed by ideas put forward by Vilém Flusser in Philosophy of photography as described by Kenneth Goldsmith – “that the content of any given photograph is actually the camera that produced it”(2015). The process of its own creation become the content for the work referring to Gottfried Jäger writing on Concrete Photography “The photographic means thus become the object of photography, and the medium itself the object.” (Jäger, 2005).

The resulting work is one that draws attention to:
– what is the current role/ place of the gestural act in the photographic?
– what relevance could legacy techniques have in contemporary practice?
– does the work add to the conversation around concrete photographic?

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