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49: imagination and composition

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

How have you been? What sorts of things have you created this week? What have you been working on?

You do feel that you are creative, don’t you? When you make a sandwich, get dressed, arrange things on a shelf like books, photos, knickknacks, or when you comb your hair, make a batch of cookies or name your new puppy, it all takes your special, step-by-step doing, your purposeful and creative energy; you are guilty of compositum, the Latin for composition, ‘putting things together’ with your imaginari, Latin for imagination, ‘picture to oneself.

I was thinking about a song that I recently wrote for the two youngest members of my family. It’s a lullaby in four-part harmony, each layer is a melody on its own. This little composition is important to me. I’m not ready to record it and I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it except that it’s my latest musical composition. And among other things, I’m working on processing my collection of summer drawings. Yes, I actually did complete 93 nature sketches, one for each summer day. I’m still picturing how I want to share this compilation but it obviously hasn’t been a priority.

Phase 1 Report: our AT&T hot spot is working pretty well, so our internet problem is under control. No trailer, yet. There is a melody that tends to drift into mind when I think of the past year; it will be a song. I’m grateful for the downloads when they happen! As far as blackberry jam… we were just gifted a basket full of beautiful fresh raspberries, even better! Yay!

Of course, we'd love to know what you’ve been up to, what you have created, compiled, composed, even composted, (given the time of year, it is possible that your compost heap is quite large). Nothing personal.

A middle-school teacher of Frank’s once told him that his imagination would never make him a living.

I interviewed Frank yesterday regarding his imagination and composition.

I started creating with photography early on in my twenties. The majority of work I did back then was with a 4x5 studio camera. No electricity needed. No batteries. A bellows going from the lens to the film plane in the camera on a tripod, that’s the entire capturing apparatus. The mechanisms of a 4x5 have capability of tilts and swings and gave me the creative control to correct a perspective issue with the subject or to distort reality.

In-camera special effects is a process of layering one exposure onto another.

Photographing a still life, for instance, one exposure might be the background, another the foreground, and another could be the main character or subject.

The background layer might be achieved by using rear projection like a projection of a slide onto a piece of frosted plexiglass. The advantages are that I could project a sunrise, sunset, cityscape, anything was possible … The foreground could be anything, too, moving or not moving, generally it was a set that I built in my studio.

Each exposure is a layer, a different design element that is then composited onto one sheet of film by multi-exposures.

I would use one sheet of transparency color film on a film back which kept it light-proof until I was ready to expose each layer. It was possible to do as many exposures as necessary to achieve the special effects that I was looking for, there was no limit to how many I could do but the average for me was five.

The trick was placing the exposure of the light onto only specific areas of the film for each layer of the multi-exposure. I would say that the majority of creativity for this type of photography is planning how to successfully get the multi-exposures on top of each other and have the final image look real and genuine.

There were sometimes happy accidents that I wouldn’t be aware of until the composition had come to fruition; the film had to be developed, either by myself in my darkroom, or by a lab.

The technique of compositing multi-exposures has been around ever since film cameras were created. Some of the early Sci-Fi motion picture special effects were done the same way. But very few photographers embraced it like I had.

I knew what to do when a client really wanted to push the envelope on high impact photography. This was before personal computers, photoshop or digital photography.

I became well-known for providing clients with high impact images. Some ideas originated in the client’s board room but many times the image would be straight out of my imagination and I would create it specifically to help my client tell their story and sell their product.

My service became my art.

When digital photography and photoshop came along I continued to use the principal of multi-exposure layering in my compositions.

Here is a fun seasonal shoot, complete with real fire in an original F&LBevans’ made, miniature fireplace. We collaborated on this project several years ago. Cameo by our amazing four-legged friend, Winchester, always happy to participate in front of the camera.”

We hope that this puts a smile on your face.

Please write and let us know how you are doing, we are sending you lots of good wishes for a peaceful and fun beginning to December and all of its festivities!

Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank


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