drive-by shooting: april greiman digital photography
pasadena museum of california art
exhibition: september 10– october 8, 2006
intro by: wessley jessup
essays by: marcus novak, michael dobry
I began this project over twenty years ago with a 35mm Nikon, then a Polaroid SX-70, capturing glimpses of tree trunks and plant and leaf forms from my moving car. I think what attracted me was the tension between control and lack of control this technique encouraged in intuitively compiling a personal record of nature. I wanted to bring natural form into my camera almost unconsciously, exposing its hidden energy within the act of seeing.
I now use digital cameras, not just as a source of imagery but as a gateway to yet another dynamic process hidden within the dna of the computer. Natural energy is transformed into images via the camera lens, these images are then transformed into pixels – into a parallel landscape of transformative digital energy. Grass becomes fur, solids become transparent, light becomes volume, an instant becomes an object of extended study. Material objects dematerialize into semi-transparent blurs in which foreground and background lose their former identity. In contrast, immaterial qualities of pure light and color take on unexpected substance and become ‘objects’ in their own right — streaks and washes of color develop an almost painterly presence equal to the now translucent solid forms, creating a single, almost biological, texture. This equivalence is reinforced by the relatively low resolution of the original captures, in which a common fabric of individual pixels subsumes all. Each stage in the process — the original image captures, their processing in software, and their final rendition in the complex act of printing is an opportunity for discovery, in which the dance between the physical and digital languages, the weave of nature and technology, is ever alive.
Seeing is a kind of thinking, an instantaneous synthesis from a chaos of simultaneous visual impressions — a coherent whole, a single perception, a unique observation. In these images, as they deconstruct that process, the observer is observed — navigating unexplored territory in which the process is the product, and the journey itself becomes the destination.