Reality-Based Abstraction

My current work evokes in me the excitement I felt 4 decades ago watching my first photographs emerge in a developing tray.

Farm Gears
Today I eagerly watch the screen on the back of my digital camera as the machine develops a series of exposures into these multilayered offerings.

Since the image combining occurs in-camera, the raw files that emerge are flat and gray looking.

Mill Windows

I use a computer darkroom to reveal rich detail, texture and color.

Brownstones and Railings

The art of the Cubist painters shimmers with life.

Rail Yard
These painters have inspired me to utilize multiple views simultaneously to portray the essence of a subject.

Wooden Bridge
Engaging light and graphic beauty draw me to subject matter.

Country Porch
The “zzt” sound of the camera’s shutter encourages me.

Steel Bridge
I joyfully bend, stretch and strain while photographing.

Venetian Blinds
Heart, technology and technique combine to reflect the overlapping planes in which I see the world these days.

Bricks and Windows
The video below gives a sense of how I created Bricks and Windows.

On Location, No. 1

I sometimes wonder what an onlooker thinks as I take an exposure while holding my camera upside down.

Art Museum Columns
Once I pick a subject, I sometimes try to plan the outcome of the multiple, layered exposures.  I have found, however, that when I act on instinct rather than linear planning, the results are more likely to sing.

Church, State and Home
 I use brief descriptive titles to hint at underlying reality.

Sailboats Racing
The transparent sails of these modern craft racing on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge allow the river’s blue to show through.

Railroad Bridge
Trains no longer rumble across the Connecticut River under this steel superstructure. Instead, bicycles whir along. Trains. Bicycles. What’s next for this travel corridor?

Whither Industrial America?
I teach photography in Turners Falls, MA. Many of the town’s mill buildings along the power canal sit unused, slowly disintegrating. This image evokes for me stormy seas and masted boats going down.

Broken Window
Another process video:  The making of Broken Window.

On Location, No. 2

Glass Door
After spending the day at MASSMoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), this is how the exit door looked to me.

Townhouse Neighborhood
Every person looking down from a skyscraper at Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood sees what their life experiences to date have taught them to see.

University Church
Given these multiple, unique truths, I think abstraction can be a more universal reality.

On Location No. 3

This video traces the roots of my abstract image making.


Anonymous said...

These are all AMAZING but my favorite has to be "Country Porch" I love the colors, texture and lines.

John Nordell said...

Thank you. It's a delight making them.