knuckles steps away

Back in January I began a second photo project (and seeing what I’ve just written, there’s a part of me asking ‘What sort of boneheaded idjit starts a photo project in fucking January?’) under the Knuckles Dobrovic alias. The first project was simple and stupid and rather fun: I put a thing on a table and photographed it. This second project was also simple and fairly unoriginal: when I took a walk I’d stop periodically and photograph my feet. The only original aspect of the notion was that I’d layer two or three of those photos on top of each other, making double or triple exposures.

January 29, the project began.

Why? Well, since it’s a photo project, there has to be at least one pretentious bullshit element at work, right? Dude, this project has two pretentious bullshit elements. Here they are.

Pretentious Bullshit Element One: Susan Sontag described photographs as ‘a thin slice of space and time.’ By layering different photographs shot at different times in different places on the same day, I wanted to suggest there’s a thread that ties together those discreet slices of time and place. I wanted to suggest that although I shot THIS photo HERE and THAT photo THERE, they’re basically one photograph of the same walk.

Pretentious Bullshit Element Two: The Buddhist monk Thích Nhat Hạnh, said this about walking meditation: When you walk, arrive with every step. I love that idea, though I’m not entirely sure what it actually means. But when I stopped to take the photos for this gig, I liked to tell myself that I’d arrived at that scattering of dead leaves, or at that lost mitten, or at that manhole cover.

February 19

See? Told you it was pretentious bullshit. But it helped me establish the gig in my head. It made the project purposeful. The concept appealed to me. The concept still does. But it’s been nine months, and I think I’ve learned as much as I can from the gig. I’d like to say I’ve accomplished my goal, except that there really wasn’t any goal. It was just an interesting thing to do while walking. And now it’s beginning to feel a tad stale to me.

March 12

One of the things I learned, though, is that the sort of stuff I’d originally thought might be interesting, often wasn’t. Shadow turned out to be surprisingly difficult to incorporate. Bright colors were often discordant in double exposures, or else they just turned into a muddy mucky brown. And small visually interesting stuff (like, say, a dead sparrow or a pair of sunglasses with one shattered lens) just tend to disappear in double exposures. 

April 26

I also discovered that I’m in bondage to a certain level of geometric orderliness. Initially, I deliberately photographed a lot of diagonal lines in the hope they’d add a pleasing complexity to the final photographs. Sometimes they did, but more often they just made the double exposures confusing. So I found myself relying more and more on lines that were horizontal or vertical — a sort of Mondrian neoplasticism (and boom, there’s more pretentious bullshit).

June 11

Finally, I was sort of surprised that not every walk resulted in a double exposure I found pleasing enough to publish. I’ve no idea how many total photos I shot for this project, or how many walks I took, but I generally shot at least three and up to eight photos of my feet on each walk. On some walks I simply failed to photograph two things that would work as double exposures.

August 17

So there we are. Nine months, 124 photographs. That’s enough. This gig is done. But I’m going to re-repeat something I said at the end of the first Knuckles project (and repeated at the beginning of this project):

I’ll probably come up with some other sort of project, simply because I’ve grown fond of the name Knuckles Dobrovic. I realize that’s a stupid reason. I don’t care. I’ve no objection to doing things for stupid reasons.

September 29

I don’t know yet what the project will be. I’m still intrigued by double exposures, so it may have something to do with that. And I’m intrigued by the concept of appropriation, so that may work into it somehow. Or it may be something completely unrelated to those things. Or hell, I may not come up with any idea at all, and this will be the end of Knuckles Dobrovic.

But I doubt it.

October 31, project ends.

ADDENDUM: I have been chastised for not including a link to the project on Instagram. For some reason, it never occurred to me. I suck at self-promotion. But for those interested in seeing all the photos, here you go: Knuckles Dobrovic.

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6 thoughts on “knuckles steps away

  1. I often take pictures of my feet in different place of the world (home included) while going out for some walk… In my town or while travelling. I have never thought of double exposing them, what a pity. I have never even put them in one same folder, and when i did i didnt rename the pictures so now i dont know where my feet were at this or that moment. But this can maybe be a pretentious bullshit element for my project! Thank you for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not pretentious bullshit at all. These are good photographs, and if you were to have an exhibit of them and were required to do an artist statement, your motivating rational would do very nicely. I’m not defending Artspeak, which can indeed get very murky and incomprehensible, but what you said was perfectly clear. (I have been an exhibiting artist for over thirty years, and I always strive for the most straightforward artist statement I can make, given that my work is pretty complicated. No point in alienating the viewer.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Heather. My sense is that a significant chunk of ArtSpeak is just post-process justification rather than pre-process consideration.

      I do believe there are a lot of art projects that only become clear to the artist at some later point. “I’ve been shooting this, painting that, manipulating these things…and having done all that, a pattern appeared which I’ve continued to work on more deliberately.” That sort of thing, and those sorts of projects are perfectly valid. But I also think there are artists who just, say, enjoy collecting driftwood and arranging it into freeform sculptures, but then feel the need to justify work that doesn’t need any justification, and so commit ArtSpeak.

      Me, I’m more a craftsperson than an artist. Sometimes I like to have a concept in mind before I begin a project. The concept may evolve as I get more involved, but I’ve found if I set certain project parameters beforehand, it forces me to be more creative within those constraints. If that makes sense.

      Like

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