If you are feeling cold and long for winter to be over, be sure to visit Sonia at Leaves of Grass as she posts about her magnificent gardens in Brazil, which unlike the Northern Hemisphere, are in riotious bloom. Sonia has an artist’s eye with the camera and writes beautifully of the place she lives and loves. Sonia’s last entry shows beautiful flower photos—I thought. Instead, they are photos laid directly on the flat bed scanner. She credits New York City artist Katinka Matson with learning about this technique, though I imagine it is widely used by artists—I’m just not one—just a wanna-be one.
Here's a Gerbera daisy I was tossing from a droopy dinner centerpiece last weekend. How come I never thought of this before? I have heard about people putting their body parts on the copiers in the workplace when no one is looking, but it simply never occurred to me to put flowers or other objects directly on the scanner. As a person who loves collage art, particularly Soul Collage, I can see all kinds of possibilities of making backgrounds for the cards.
When I just cleaned up and watered my Southern California dormant garden, I was surprised how few flowers were actually blooming: a few impatiens and geraniums, though the fuschias are budding. My patio garden is very shady so what can be grown there is pretty limited. I'll have to curb my enthusiasm for snipping the neighbor's flowers while I'm walking Cookie. I tried some silk flowers and they look totally phony.
This is what Katinka says about new technologies and art. "New technologies equal new perceptions. We create tools and then mould ourselves through our use of them. "In 1975, when the inventor Ray Kurzweil created the CCD (or “Charge Coupled Device”) flatbed scanner, no one imagined that this device, with a pixel-sensor that moved slowly back and forth across the page, would bring into question our established notions about seeing, vision, and perspective.
For the past several years I have experimented with a non-photographic technique for creating images by utilizing input through the flatbed CCD scanner. No camera or lenses are used. The process involves scanning flowers and other natural objects on an open-top scanner from underneath the objects with a slo-moving sensor. This technique allows for unusual opportunities to explore new ideas involving light, time, and rhythm.
It is a radically new digital aesthetic involving both new hardware (the scanner and the inkjet printer), and software (Adobe Photoshop), that allows for a new naturalism fusing nature and technology.
Without the distortion of the lens, highly detailed resolution is uniform throughout the image, regardless of the size of the printable media. The lighting effects from the sliding sensor beneath the object, coupled with overhead effects involving lighting and movement, result in a 3-D-like imaging of intense sharpness and detail. Images created by scanning direct-to-CCD cut away layers, and go to a deeper place in us than our ordinary seeing and vision."
I realize my attempts are pretty amateurish compared to Katinka and Sonia, but hey, it’s a start. And give me credit for not snatching up a lady bug sitting quietly on an aloe vera plant. Try some scanner art and let me know your results.