Drizzly Easter holiday day, so I promised the girl the rare treat of an afternoon in my den with her pick of pens, die-shapes, and a selected pick of papers. This forced me to sit down with the die-cutting machine and try out a couple of ideas that have been on my mind.
I wanted to work with a rephotograph of an old school photo of me and do some die-cutting, manipulating the cutouts. I’ve recently sadly decided that for the purposes of working with photographs, the most versatile dies to use are not the detailed asymmetric ones of particular objects (manuscript writing, kitschy hearts, fairies, flowers) but the comparatively boring ones of plain shapes. For a woman who is essentially all about the bling, this was a hard fact to accept. But, recent readings and playings around Mobius strips, toroses and klein bottles have got me thinking about the deceptively simple nature of these shapes, and seeing more of the beauty and the potential in the simple. So multipacks of circles, ovals and yes, symmetrical hearts arrived today. I think I need to add in rectangles and squares too. The beauty of these shapes is that you can flip the cut-out shape over and re-insert it in the gap, thus reversing part of the image from front to back and vice versa. Circles and squares add the extra possibility of rotation, which I was keen to explore. I like the idea of an image cut into concentrate circles with the image staggering outwards, though I didn’t get quite as far as that today.
Ovals excite me tremendously, they have such a heritage with the whole vignette thing, the delicately painted miniatures, lockets, and even landscapes – Stefan Schaffeld told me about the landscapes made with the aid of a dark glass mirror and these were sometimes presented as ovals. So I think that will be next.
This is another area that I want to explore. School photos manage to combine the qualities of being both sacrosanct and ubiquitous. I’m going to pick some up from ebay and charity shops and continue my explorations with photos of people other than me. I am still mesmerised by the possibility of presenting both sides of a photograph on a single plane. On the middle photo you can see the Fuji branding on the shapes. It will be interesting to combine cuts from a photograph with for example cuts from a second photograph or other materials (thinking particularly of my atlas here, or combining portraits of myself and my daughter, as I briefly tried a while back, see below…)
Speaking of which, does anyone know the name for the 2d shape that looks like an off-centred polo mint? Would it be an off-centred circular frame?
Another thing to try arising from this work is to try it with Polaroids and seeing if there is any scope to include it in A5. The problem is getting the picture to hold together.