Italy: new / perspectives

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I started making immersive photographs in 1995. I was asked by a budding dot com company to travel to Asia and make interactive panoramic photographs of whatever I thought was interesting subject matter. They in turn would sell the "Panos" on a stock site. It was a photographer's dream, so I immediately said yes, and went to the Pacific Rim countries to begin working. Two years later the company went out of business, but I continued to make 360 degree panoramic photographs.

Immersive photographs can only be viewed on a computer screen. They are cylindrical 360 degree photographs that can be moved on the monitor so the viewer can see everything as the image is moved by the mouse. It's like standing in one spot and turning around 360 degrees. To make these panoramic photographs you need to stitch photographs together in a special software program. In the proscess of making the "Panos" you start with a "flat file" or a flat 360 degree photograph. The flat file is really what interests me because of its unique way of bending and skewing the image and making the image more subjective.

I use a film camera to make the photographs. When I view it as a flat, two dimensional photograph it is apparent to me that it is a different way of seeing familiar subjects, such as the photographs from Italy: new / perspectives, which are "places of destination" while traveling. I am challenged by this new way of seeing recognizable subject matter. In essence it forced me to consider a more subjective and less objective approach to photography. I felt I was entering into unknown visual territory, and I began to search intensely for what I ultimately called closure. Closure is a psychological term defined as a sense of certainty or completeness. However, in the language of photography it means a tendency to want to visualize, understand, and comprehend the entire subject, even when one can only see a portion of that subject, or if the subject is skewed and out of proportion, or if it doesn't fit into a preconceived idea of what it should look like. My mind strived to complete the picture, to bend the picture, to change the picture. I realized that everything I saw, and everything that I was able to comprehend, was based in part, on my past visual experiences. I also realized that there was a measure of visual prejudice involved and I equated that to other prejudices that I might have about any given subject. In a final attempt to reconcile the idea of closure, I took a subjective stand rather than an objective view. I "caved" in to the beauty of just feeling, the ability to just accept what was in front of me, and not try to change it in any way. By doing this I managed to close the door between objective and subjective, and in the end I was able to perceive and understand the photographs for what they are and not that I wanted them to be.

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