These images are explorations of what there is down there in every picture on the Internet, images – or files – made up of pixels. A pixel is the smallest building block of a digital image and is explained here.
It started out when, on January 29, 2011, I stumbled upon this image on the homepage of The Telegraph, a very good, dramatic photo by Matt Dunham.
To enlarge and see details, move your cursor over single images and click on those in galleries:
It caught my attention because it reminded me of a classical print by Richard Hamilton “Release” depicting – also through a car window two people in trouble, hands central and light streaming through – the arrest of Mick Jagger and Hamilton’s art dealer, Robert Fraser, for drug use in 1967. More about this print here.
I began to work in Photoshop with Matt Dunham’s excellent press photography and blew it up to see the many details, not the least the numerous in the car window of people and neon lights outside. I took out smaller details and enlarged them, among them some of Camilla’s and some of Charles’ hair, bits of her hand and face, etc.
That’s when I found out that there can be great beauty in the tiniest detail of such a digital image on the Internet, actually probably in any image we see there. They are all made of pixels and when we take a little spot and enlarge that, and then take a small section of that and blow that up, etc. we do what I have since called “pixel archaeology”.
It’s a bit like diving in the ocean and seeing the beauty of the coral reef and the fish…
So, what you end up with are pure patterns, shapes and colours, totally abstract.
I didn’t save all these steps but here is one example of a such a section:
While such patterns do have a certain beauty, I thought to myself: What can I do with that kind of “archaeology”?
For reasons I don’t remember – and this was 2011 – I was trying to find out what some new Photoshop filters (at least new to me) could do to a normal photography. One of these filters, or tools, was Crosshatching which is explained here. Photoshop’s crosshatching tool is simple, or mechanical. You can’t do “patchhatching” for instance. It makes a flat surface.
Now, this was also the time when I found out that Jasper Johns had been inspired by Edward Munch – the bedsheet pattern (which is more hatching than crosshatching…) in his famous self-portrait, Between The Clock and The Bed:
– and, so, I began to play with the Crosshatching filter tool as well as with other Photoshop tools, e.g. Cutout and Angled Strokes.
Add to this play also a heavy dose of colour changes and substitutions of some colours for others and what you see in these “Pixelations” is what I got after a very long period of on-and-off trials (and errors) which I exhibited in my studio nine months later.
They can be produced in unlimited variations, densities, patterns, filter tools and colours. I like that sort of technique, somewhat like the old caleidoscope: make a little change and something new appears.
These patterns can also be integrated with other elements in collages – see e.g. “Between Two Clock and The Bed” and “Crosshatch Series – Munch and Johns (Black Granite)”.
This is what photography can also be about. And I enjoy when visitors have come to my studio, looked at these – I would say beautiful, meditative patterns – and exclaim “But that is not photography!!”
I think it is.
And, by the way, many have said that the images in this portfolio are good for meditations. They are harmonious, “soft” and your eyes can wander around forever…
Here a few more. You may click on each to see more details and info.
Go now to the shop and see the Pixelations, the four categories and the variations in each
– details in enlargements, editions, prices and more
Published August 20, 2018, updated and expanded in June 2020