Backyard worlds

©Jon-Marc Seimon 2010

©Jon-Marc Seimon 2010

Gallery: Backyard Worlds >>

Duston always talks about wanting – in her work – to see something she’s never seen before. To see something new. It gets harder as one gets older, and I’m in awe of people who’re able to change their point of view and find the unfamiliar in the familiar. I guess this is one of the reasons that I love traveling – when you travel, you’re literally seeing new things all the time. In this sense I suppose it can be seen as a substitute for imagination...

The picture above, and those in the accompanying gallery, are examples of how a technological intervention has given me the ability to see something new in the familiar. I’ll take help wherever I can get it. In this case, it’s my iPhone - yes, all these pictures were taken with the iPhone. I’m blown away. I’m using an app called Autostitch; it’s phenomenally easy to use - too easy! So the picture above is actually a composite of about 60 individual snaps that I took a couple of days ago during a beautiful little snowstorm, a few steps from the front door. 

I thought I knew this view. I see it every day from the deck of my office. I’ve walked that little path a thousand times, usually hauling stuff in the wheelbarrow down to the vegetable garden. Familiar. But here I’ve had to take it apart, to photograph little patches of it and then let the app put it all back together. And when it does, there’s a great serendipity to some of the decisions it makes. It makes - not me. The app looks for common elements - bit of tree trunk, the edge of the path - and decides how to patch to together, where to stretch and distort, where to darken and lighten. To smooth it out. Math at work. And as I learn it, I shoot to fit into its proclivities. That’s what I love about really simple, limited tools. The choices are basic and finite, but the possibilities are infinite. Hey - look at the lowly pencil!

My favorite bits are we deviate from “reality”. Look at that bright area to the left - I know and understand why it’s bright, but I don’t care! That’s not what it says to me. Rather, I can’t help seeing it as some sort of door, the entry what exactly? I’m not sure. But I want to walk through it. It leads somewhere else, of that I’m convinced.

The same things with the other pictures in the gallery. The ghosting trees distending and extruding at their crowns, the bulging houses.