Sunday, November 24, 2013


Formalism by t.crowley

When in a photography class, everything becomes grist for the mill.  We have recently been studying Formalism.    Formalism, in a nut shell, is when a photograph reveals balance and classic composition.  Formalism doesn't tell a story, it is the story.  However, there are many instances where a so-called documentary photograph which tells a story is also deeply formalistic, certainly in the case of Walker Evans' work.  Much of the history of art is about transforming the mundane into something of importance.  Think of cave paintings of the animal hunt.  Think of Vermeer's work.  Look at this scene.
Pretty mundane stuff transformed by an artist.  After all, what is there around us but the mundane?  It is the stuff of life.  We have a need to observe and elevate, to see the sublime in shape, form, color, light, arrangement of the subject.

Now, my photos above, are arguably pretty normal, even ugly in their depiction of my kitchen sink on a Sunday morning.  But something about the arrangement caught my imagination.  In the color version, the blue of the spoon is particularly satisfying.  I think I like the color version better, but the black and white version has it's own elements arguing for it.  Blurring the edges also brings the focus to the shapes in the middle of the frame.

This is where my mind goes.

Oh, and our class is going to publish a book at the end of next semester.  I'm thrilled.  Problem is I have to select only 2 photos to be included.  That's going to be the trick.  I don't think this sink photo is going to make the cut.


  1. Love this, Tara. I once described art as lifting the mundane to the sublime. Maybe we, your adoring audience, could help you pick the two photos. We could vote on all the ones in the running. I'd be happy to chime in!

  2. that's a great suggestion, Robin! I'll do that when the time comes. I lose all perspective on my own work.

  3. I've been looking at these pics and it dawned on me what is drawing me in. It's the circles. They are orderly and perfect in form - and they are all different. And then there is the contrasting blue against the silver sink - I like that as well. I think this is a pretty cool pic. Nice job Tara.

    1. Thanks, CJ. Yes, I think it was the repeating circles that sparked my curiosity. And that great blue handle. Who knew?

  4. I think your building photos are exquisite.