Landscape With Macbeth

©2012 Dave Ortiz

Lately I have been reading a lot about The New Aesthetic in conjunction with discussions at Soho Photo regarding the direction that photography is going, and particularly, how our gallery deals with these new ways of photography. The discussion is ongoing to say the least. It seems to me that this idea of The New Aesthetic is just an understandable fascination with the modern. Back in the earlier part of last century photographers were obsessed with depicting form, with depicting industry, technology, which I think is very similar to the present obsession with depicting “digital” in art. Pixel patterns in fabrics, pixelated mannequin faces, architecture adorned with pixels, for the present generation that grew up suckling at the digital breast this fascination is almost understandable and to be expected (if one was  an astute enough student of history and society).

Part of this idea of the New Aesthetic is trying to understand how machines see the world, a robot readable world, in the words of James Bridle.  I was thinking about this as I was shooting in a nature reserve near my house. I just bought X-rite’s Passport system. It is basically a mini macbeth colorchecker target (and a couple of others) that you insert into the scene you are shooting so that during the raw conversion process you can easily color balance against the target. Sensors do not have the ability (the way our brain does) to compensate for color biases. shadows are blue, tungsten lights look yellow, etc. Usually at the end of making adjustments you would crop out the color target or (like me) you would have taken 2 shots, one with the target and one without. No one need know that this machine we call a camera needed help seeing colors correctly. But what if,in the spirit of The New Aesthetic, we leave the target in the frame to make obvious the fact of needed color corrections.

© 2012 Dave Ortiz, Landscape with Macbeth


Might be an interesting series of images. The New Aesthetic meets The Ancient Forests. Maybe I’ll sprinkle some pixels among the grass and leaves!


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