Subconscious associations – or titling, redux

The_Empire_of_Light_MOMA
The Empire of Light

The repost of the titling article a couple of days back was a deliberate choice to set you up for today’s somewhat more abstract and surrealist discussion. I was recently re-looking at the way Rene Magritte handled day-night transitions or zones in the same painting to see if there were any ideas there which could be translated to photography in a beyond-literal way, specifically inspired by the above painting. It’s one of my favourites for several reasons. There are physical elements which I personally find appealing, such as the fluffy clouds and the heavy, tonally-rich shadow areas; it’s non-literal in that the image shown is actually impossible to see in reality given the physical constraints of the world; and finally, the use of colour to split the mood of the painting so decisively in two (relaxing, safe, pleasant above, slightly sinister and potentially dangerous below) – yet maintain a complimentary color palette and aesthetic that still tricks the audience into believing it’s physically plausible. I think the implied continuation of the scene outside the edges of the painting (especially at the right  – no neat cut points here!) contributes very strongly to this. Actually, all of the above is true and not true: there are several paintings in the series, which Magritte gave the same titles: The Empire of Light. All of them have the same elements, however: fluffy white clouds against a blue sky; a dark, slightly foreboding urban element with a high ambiguity factor at the bottom of the frame, and a single street light. After viewing this and many others of Magritte’s paintings, the real question I’m left asking is usually around the titles: how do they clearly manage to relate to what’s visually present whilst simultaneously neither being literal but giving you the feeling that there’s something philosophically deeper going on? And moreover, how does one learn to title like that?

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One day left for ‘Only The Clouds…’ + Verticality IV prints…

_8041831 copy Verticality IV
Only the clouds are truly free… and Verticality IV

Thank you all for the great response so far! A gentle reminder: one day left to order Only the clouds are truly free or Verticality IV; available at 24×16″ (edition of 35) and 10×15″ (edition of 50) sizes – click here for more details and to order. 

The run will close on 31 December 2013, and we’ll print and ship in early January 2014.

Thanks again for the support! MT

Update: there plenty left at the smaller 10×15″ and 12×12″ sizes, but only a few of each at 16×24″ and 20×20″; I admit this is not what I expected. 🙂

Last (special) print run of the year

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Only the clouds are truly free…

Firstly, thank you for all of the compliments, emails, likes and shares on this image – surprisingly far more than even the most popular gear review. Thank you also for the support for the last two runs, and all of the recent enquiries via email on prints of this image; it’s because of this that I’m pleased to offer one final print sale for 2013…read on to order and for more details.

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