Rephotographing Lava Flows: A Transformation of Document into Art

Prof. Tim Frazier
To add a paper, Login.

After 2 1/2 years of photographing Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve for a documentary project, the conceptual basis of the work shifted to an aesthetic presentation of the passage of time. The subject matter lent itself quite readily to this interpretation since the lava flows have remade the landscape regularly for the last 13 million years and the geologic evidence of these changes is literally set in stone. The challenge was to use a compressed time line of several hours and create images which reflect the changes which thousands of years have imposed on this landscape.

To present a passage of time and imply the natural changes which occur, several photographs of the same area were made over a period of several hours and joined as a rough panorama of a specific geologic feature. A single image is comprised of several separate or joined photographs, black and white and color, shot during the day and at night. The different directions and quality of light change the way the features appear over the duration of the set of exposures. The final presentation of an image is a hanging of several separate prints, some comprised of combined photographs, arranged to show the shape of a feature and highlight the difference in its appearance due to the changes in light over the time of the exposures. A given image is quite large since the individual prints comprising an image range in size from about 33 x 48 cm (13 x 19 in) to 86 x 140 cm (34 x 55 in).

This talk will focus on the conceptual basis for the photographs, the convergence of concept, subject matter and presentation, and trace the evolution of the project from the documentary photographs to the aesthetic images.

Keywords: Aesthetic Images, Art Photography, Documentary Photographs, Landscape Photographs, Lava Flows, Western U.S. Photographs
Stream: Meaning and Representation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Tim Frazier

Professor, Mass Communication Department, Idaho State University

Ref: A06P0089