Currently on display at her e-mage gallery space is Melusina Parkin’s latest exhibition. Intriguingly entitled Wrong Pics, it offers a series of images which “are the outcome of a long work of selecting, re-thinking, and editing quite good photos, with the aim of enhancing a meaning the subject could inspire, by extreme manipulations of its features.”
The result is a collection of 16 pictures which demonstrate various unintended photographic errors such as over-exposure, colour saturation, incorrect lighting, inadequate focus, double exposure and so on, can enhance, rather than diminish, an image. It’s an outcome referred to as “fautographie”, a term popularised – although not coined – by photographic historian Clément Chéroux in his 2003 book Fautographie: petite histoire de l’erreur photographique (“Fautographie: story of the photographic error“) – which Melusina points to as influencing her exhibit. The idea that an image born of accident rather than design – what what Chéroux refers to as “photography by default” – can be as striking as anything deliberately composed or edited.
This is something of a challenging exhibition, because by it’s very nature it is founded on something of a dichotomy. “Fautographie” emphasises the way in which the accidental or unplanned photograph can be as artistic as any other photo. Yet, in order to demonstrate this, the images on display have had to be deliberately manipulated to achieve the desired results.
Not that this is any criticism of Melusina. For one thing, this dichotomy is not lost on her: at the back of the gallery lies a small plaque bearing a quote from William Gibson: It is possible to photograph what isn’t there; but it’s damned hard to do. For another, given the tools we have at our disposal in SL, it is pretty much impossible to accidentally produce a double exposure or an unintended reflection, or a lens flare, or to over-expose an image or jostle the camera during a long exposure. So just because things have been manipulated here doesn’t necessarily detract from the exhibit as a whole, or its intent.
Located in the cosy upstairs gallery of the Pixel Bean Coffee House is a baker’s dozen exhibition of pieces by Whiskey Monday. Originally intended to run through until the end of December 2014, the display remains open for the present – but you may well be advised to visit it sooner rather than later, in case there are plans in hand to replace it with work by another artist.
Whiskey’s compositions are always remarkable; beautifully composed and edited, each one presents a striking image and / or theme, and this series of pictures carries the collected title of Selected Letters, a title which at first may seem a little confusing, as the subject matter within the pieces might seem well removed from communications or letters, the images appearing to focus more on aspects of self-expression and matters of place and identity, But really, aren’t all of these – our sense of self, our feelings of place and identity, and such, all little missives we send to ourselves – and to others?
The prints on display at the Pixel Bean Coffee house are available for purchase, should you desire to have a piece of Whiskey’s work in your virtual home.