May 11, 2015

What You Look At, Affects What You See: Ode to Jay Maisel, Man Ray and Bernice Abbott

The machined pattern of the Gyroscope Playground workbench at the MIT Museum beckoned:

My Art Playground

Preparing to create a Reality-Based Abstraction, I got in close to photograph:

Right-side Up

Often when photographic legend Jay Maisel gives a talk, he shows the same picture right-side up and then upside down, to demonstrate how our eyes play tricks on us, because we assume light (the sun) is coming from above.

Right-side Down

I often combine multiple views of an object simultaneously, by layering images in the camera, to trick the eyes into seeing the full reality of a subject:

All Sides Together

My image above evokes (for me) Man Ray's 1930s work Larme (Tears), which portrays a woman crying glass tears.

Here is the same workbench, shot specifically and intentionally out of focus:

Ways of Seeing

Bernice Abbott, once a student of Man Ray, photographed in the 1950s at MIT, creating images to enhance the teaching of physics.

Her work, A Bouncing Ball in Diminishing Arcs, adorns the side of the MIT Museum, in Cambridge, MA:

It's All About Light

I like the repartee of physics and a nearby string of lights.

Big thanks to Jay Maisel, Man Ray and Bernice Abbott, for helping me to see below (and above) the surface of things.