Monday, July 21, 2008
One subject three ways
In his 1982 essay, “Variations on a Theme as the Crux of Creativity,” Douglas Hofstadter (def. not the individual pictured above) references a really cool book—one that he actually describes as “curious”—published by William Kaufmann (again, also not the individual pictured above) in 1978. The book is called One Book Five Ways. As Hofstadter describes it, “a manuscript on indoor gardening was sent around to five different university presses, and they all cooperated in coming up with full publication versions of the book, which turned out to be stunningly different at all conceivable levels” (245). The text (as “metabook”) features side-by-side versions of the various texts. Hofstadter, using language reminiscent of Marx Wartofsky’s (still not the statue guy), calls this a “foray into ‘possible worlds’” (245) and I’ve had the concept of this text in mind as I’ve thought about shooting the test rolls for the various cameras I’ve recently acquired. Otherwise put, in an effort to have some point of comparison for better understanding what I’m doing, what the camera is doing (or what we are doing together), I’ve made an effort to shoot similar things with the various cameras: the rusty tricycle, coneflowers, kitchen table, the spout out back, the woods, etc. Thanks to a recent flickr contact, I’ve learned how to put these images together in photoshop. (Prior to that, if I wanted to create a diptych or triptych, I’ve had to do that with the Nikon n50, remembering to take photos and cut the negatives accordingly before I try to scan them.) The William Sondheim (that's the guy pictured above) triptych featured here is comprised (left to right) of a shot taken with the Yashica D, the (quite toylike) VistaQuest VQ350, and the Ikoflex. Not a terrifically interesting (or, in Hofstadter’s terms, “curious”) composition, but in the process of putting this together I’ve begun thinking about ways to achieve more interesting variations on this particular theme. Hmmm.