Friday, April 4, 2008

Happy Accident

I love the unexpected bursts of color in this photograph that I titled "Flaming Autumn." They seem to electrify the composition. The color happened because I accidentally opened the back of the camera before the film was completely wound back into the cartridge. I know that couldn’t happen with a digital camera, which, in my mind, is a good reason for me to stay with film. I decided to use this picture as my signature photograph for the exhibit in Ossining. We had it printed on the invitations to the show and on posters. Sometimes you have to think of mistakes as opportunities.


At April 13, 2008 at 9:36 AM , Blogger robert said...

In her post of 4/4/08 about the photo entitled "Happy Accident," Ronile tells readers how this picture came to be; I'd like to discuss some of its implications to the process of photographic image making:

Most nature pictures require that the photographer integrate a portion of that which he or she cannot control (the branches and lights in the current image, for instance), with what can be controlled -- the selection, composition, exposure and a host of other criteria germane to making photographs.

This image, however, introduces another factor: the unexpected -- that which intrudes upon and up-ends the best-laid-plans of the photographer.

We can view this image in terms of dialogues between chaos and order. On one level the photographer attempts to impose order on the chaos of nature -- even while admitting that nature habitually responds to its own sense of order.

On another level -- such as that produced by Ronile's accident -- the photographer must respond to what is out of control. Each example imposes its own unique aesthetic disposition. The aesthetic that precedes or is concurrent with picture-making is obvious and commonplace, but the aesthetic brought to a finished image (after the fact) is less well understood, and in many ways may be the more crucial -- at least in the context of what we have come to call "conceptual" art.

Obviously, Ronile, saw in the accident something of significance that was not part of her original purpose; whatever it is, it has been imposed after the fact, and its source, while ostensively derived from the accident, more importantly comes from the author's life experiences (using the word "life" to signify the confluence of her learnings, leanings and visual language).

In this way the work has been conceptualized, and lucky for the viewers, it is not difficult to follow Ronile's metaphor of fire and sunbursts.

Our age is one in which artists test their audiences to comprehend their "post productions of the mind" in their quests to convey meaning and significance and to garner fame and glory. These unexplained meanings and significances, at best, risk the danger of becoming ephemeral and are crucially dependent either upon whether audiences will follow and/or sympathize with makers. Whether they succeed or fail, often lies in the hands of those who describe and analyze them. The "intentional fallacy" tells us not to accept the artist's words as necessarily more authoritative than those of the critics.

We say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but with so many people talking about them, success may be a function of to whose thousand words we happen to hear.

Trebor Norabescu


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