Dream" by Melvin Sokolsky
most frequently asked questions about the allegory I shot for
the New York Times titled - The Dream - are: What does the allegory
mean? Are the images real or have they been digitally rendered
on the computer?
most cultures have controlled womens roles in society by
the dictates of style and fashion. Popular trends decide not only
a womens shape, it decides what she eats, how she dresses,
when she wore the obligatory bustle it even decided if she could
sit. If her feet were thought too big they were bound to make
them smaller. One could say thats ancient history, but if
we look back only a few years, remember Heroin Chic? Why do these
trends regularly impose states of being that are not organic to
the species? Perhaps the ever-changing face of beauty is the eternal
need for love!
back in my notebook of drawings for the shoot I noticed that I
called the allegory "Endangered Species." The allegory
loosely refers to women finding their center. It is a cry to women
to betray fashion trends by following their dreams and choosing
to display their innate and unique femininity. Women can choose,
in the face of danger they can fall, and with the energy of faith
and nature, they can experience rebirth.
not in the business of predicting but I shudder to think what
genetic engineering will bring. Upon reflection I can see positive
results if women remain true to themselves and use the future
to bring out their best without distorting their genetic potential.
I cant wait to shoot some of the new ideas that have come
to mind while writing these thoughts. Regarding the big question:
are the images real or digital?
of my early disappointments in photography was the image I thought
I saw on the ground glass was not at all the image I got on film.
After much experimentation I learned that the camera had to be
cajoled to render the image conjured in the mind's eye. Photographers
unlike painters are at the mercy of the common notion - that in
photography, the image must be created in one click of the shutter.
When photographers ask me how extensive was the use of Photoshop
in creating the New York Times series, as if something is suspect
in using the computer, my answer to them is that cavemen used
a primitive version of Photoshop when they reworked their drawings
on the walls of caves. Through out the history of art, artists
have made great efforts to individualize their images. If a painter
doesnt like the shape or size or shape of a face, with a
few strokes of the brush they can change it. Some experienced
photographers do the same in a limited way by tilting the camera
so that a face is elongated or shortened. In the world of photography
various forms of image manipulation have evolved over the decades
and most recently into the powerful tool called Photoshop.
images in "The Dream" are a composite of photographic
images that have been rendered into a singular image. The sets
are built in actual scale, in front of the camera, so that the
images drawn on the ground glass are faithful to my vision. Annie
Morton, the model in the series, in most cases is shot in set
for organic and lighting reasons. The sky elements are photographs
that have been tweaked in terms of density and proper perspective.
The sets are made of Styrofoam, which is light in weight and paints
easily. The build and wrap time is a fraction of that of wood
key point is not the technique of how the image was made, but
the idea and the vision. If you have the vision it can be rendered
in numerous ways; the choices you make become your personal style.
All the image-enhancing tools become irrelevant if the idea and
vision are not true and engaging.