Works in Progress: Chapter 3: A Return to Udaipur: digital art photography

While I was in Udiapur the first time, I was here for an artist residency. I made posts about that experience and shows how the work progressed while I was there. Now that I am back I am working on several projects. I thought I would be nice to share those projects as they progress and get your feedback on the work.

Starting a New Digital Imaging Project

Back during the summer, I was heading back to Udaipur for a visit. I was excited but I was also nervous. I was not sure how I would feel about being there. However, I knew I wanted to make a digital art photography project about being there. Last week, I wrote about some of the theory behind this project in an On the Subject of Photography post. I also knew I wanted to make more digital images.

I decided to revisit places I walked frequently. But the project also includes a few images from Art Junction as it is a place that changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. As I walked through town recounting the times I had walked through these spaces, I would notice how things had changed or not changed. It had been just over a years since I had been there and it was intriguing to see the differences and non-differences. Looking at the photographs, most people would not recognize the changes if there have been any. Some astute observers from Udiapur might recognize them, however, some are so insignificant they might not.

After making the photographs I was not sure exactly what I was going to do with them. I first tried something that did not work. You can see the example above. Cropping the images into sections and manipulating them in different ways was just not giving me the look or understanding I wanted.

Art Junction Bedroom with HDR

Art Junction Bedroom without HDR

After attempting the edits above which were obviously not working, I had to do a little thinking. Read a few things. Then I decided to crop the photographs into circles. The circles represent the original shape of every photograph and to the idea that a circle is never ending. My relationship with Udaipur will be never ending. I will always return there. Perhaps, I will live there again.

Once I had decided on the circular shape I had do decide how I was going to address each image. I moved from the image above taken inside Art Junction to the bedroom I had stayed in during my first stay at Art Junction. I cut the image in half and flipped it over creating the triple image you see below. This change in orientation represents the change in my life from before October 3, 2015, to after and a flipping back over April, 2017. From there I began working on an image of Chetak Cirlce. This is a busy place in Udiapur and I have spent much time there at the shops or just passing through. It is a place always in motion. Thus, I took the photograph multiplied it and rotated each copped layer and then reduced the opacity so that each layer could be seen. It represents the constant motion of the area.

Chetak Circle Twisted with HDR

Chetak Circle Twisted without HDR

Once I had made several images, I transferred them to my phone to put them on Instagram. I had opened the images in Snapseed (a phone app for editing photos) to crop them and for some reason while I had the Chetak Circle image open I clicked on the HDR button. It instantly improved the look of the image. I saved the change and put it on Instagram. People really seemed to like it so I began using HDR on all of the images. I even went back and changed the Art Junction Bedroom image.

Through my continued reading on phenomenology, I have come to realize that these digitally montaged photographs and their construction is not only about my time and mental sate while in India but also the place and time I am in while digitally constructing them. Since returning from my visit, my life has drastically changed. I have a new job, live in a rural area as opposed to a metropolitan area, and have finally finished the grieving process of the relationship I had while living in India. All of these things put me in a different mental state than what I was in while in Udaipur when I made the photographs used for this project.

The final image of myself in the room in Udaipur is a good example of this. The room is a place filled with a myriad of memories for me. It is a place I have spent a lot of time, I have created artworks there, partied there, slept there, been bored there and been physical with people there. However, during my last trip, I was and still am on a journey of coming to terms with my body and trying to get over my own body image issues. Also, in a weird way, that I will not go into details here (if you want them, email me), coming into my own sexuality. Yes, I am a little old to just now be coming around to the idea that I am a sexual being, but that is where I am. Though clothed in this image, I would have never made this image in the past. Too self-conscious.

The point is, we are always changing. We should understand our art process as also a learning process. I constantly learn about myself through my art. In a way, it is a documentation of these changes. The changes in what I feel about myself and the world around me and the change in goals and things I want out of life.

All this being said, these digital montages are not only a response to a memory or a memory of a memory or my mental state. They are also a reaction to the original photograph. What will work with and for the image and how to keep it balanced. An aesthetic feeling if you will. Even though I want to express what is on my mind, I also want the image to be visually appealing. I may be heavily influenced by Conceptual art of the 1970’s but I also like attractive things.

Keep a look out for more Work in Progress posts to learn how this project continues to unfold.

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By |2018-12-02T17:07:13-06:00December 4th, 2018|Chapter 3: A Return to Udaipur|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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