Yesterday, I mentioned that, creative inspiration input-wise, I was near bursting at the seams and, as an example, when thinking about this entry, one of the very first things that came to mind was this short clip.
Why that clip? Well, simply put, this entry is about plastic or plasticity. Something that, back in Ben's and Mr. McGuire's day, was headed for a great future in the arts.
During my recent conversation with Joel Meyerowitz (at the Pioneers Of Color exhibit), I asked him about his feelings regarding that which was his former print medium - the venerable C-print, aka-chromogenic print - versus his current print making media of choice, the pigmented ink print medium, aka - inkjet prints. I prefaced my query with the statement that I had long admired his early - 1970s-1990s - C-prints. Not the pictures (although I certainly do admire the images), but, specifically, the quality (look and feel) of the prints as beautiful objects in and of themselves.
His answer was very interesting. Joel said that he considered his early C-prints to be like daguerreotypes of the color printing art/craft. They were, in his words, perfect indices of the era from which they came. In fact, he had been told that the Pioneers of Color exhibit was perfectly indexical.
At this point, he felt compelled to state that the words "indices" and "indexical" are, in fact, artspeak - a language with which he is not particularly comfortable and of which he is not particularly fond.
Nevertheless, moving on, he went on to state that now, with the ability to make HQ scans of his early color negatives (especially his 8×10 stuff) coupled with the superior color gamut of inkjet printing devices/materials, his earlier work has revealed such an expanded range of colors (and color subtleties) that the world's plasticity is revealed in a much more compelling and detailed manner*.
Joel waxed nearly poetic about the color that "was in the early materials but that, even with the best printing practices then available, nobody knew was there."
So, he didn't exactly say that C-prints were crap - prints that he also noted, "if I were lucky enough to sell one back then, well, how long they would last was anyone's guess" - but he left no doubt about the fact that the future is here and that, with the medium of photography, it's all about plastic.
FYI, here's an interesting bit about the large pigmented ink prints hanging in the PoC exhibit - when the subject of print longevity (200+ years for pigmented ink prints) came up, I asked if that was the reason why those prints were not exhibited under glass. Joel said that while they were not under glass, they were, in fact, protected by a surface laminate.
*that the world's plasticity is revealed in a much more compelling and detailed manner as the result of scanning early 8×10 color negative is something that I discovered when, a few years ago, I started scanning some of my (early 1980s) 8×10 color negatives - examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
And, lest I forget - plastic arts are defined as arts producing works or effects that are three-dimensional .... works to be viewed, as sculpture, architecture, painting, and the graphic arts, as distinguished from those involving writing or composing, as music or literature.
plasticity (in the pictorial arts) is defined as the quality of depicting space and form so that they appear three-dimensional.
It has been said that the medium of photography, in all of its plastic glory, is the perfect medium for rendering / capturing the world's plasticity - in this usage, plasticity is defined as marked by artificiality or superficiality. Consequently, and perhaps even logically, when the word "plasticity" is used as in the previous sentence, it functions as a double entendre.
Therefore, be forewarned - if someone comments on your pictures and states that they feel rather "plastic", don't immediately punch him/her in the mouth. Ask first for a definition, because it just might be meant as a compliment of the highest order.