For the Art Department’s annual theme show, the game (in our medium) seems to be all about scale, and relationships. Some of the pictures may create a seemless illusion, but there is something also to the idea of revealing one’s methods and intentions as one goes.

One scenario: blow up 20 or so balloons, and present the record of it all as salmon roe on top of sushi. Sounds lame, I know, but this is not the medium. The first concern is how it looks.

Today’s example was to photograph a toy marble with a canteloupe. They can be shown one in front of the other, overlapping, or side by side. The lens could be at table-top level in order to compare the orbs’ height. The frame might be placed so tightly that the entire melon does not fit into the frame (implying a kind of enormity). Strong sidelight, directed just so, could cast an elongated shadow from the marble. All of these strategies would simply come across as exercises until you push the situation to a new extreme.

Allen Ginsburg was fond of saying “First thought, best thought.” That’s a good intuitive approach for a poet; a version of that applies to our way of getting into a situation, but it’s in the shooting session that ideas evolve rather than executing whatever notes one jotted ahead of time.

Don’t discount the role of titles & captions, either. This is Atget’s “Fete du Trone,” at the Art Institute.

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