Abstract Self Portrait

Self Portrait, Santana Row - San Jose, California

Self Portrait, Santana Row – San Jose, California

I attempted a rather abstract and odd self-portrait, when I was shooting in Santana Row. My friend Dan noticed this ornate and old-world-ish wall. It was in a really dark spot and I didn’t expect the colors to show well. I was wrong. Looking through the rear LCD, unexpectedly, the colors presented themselves quite well.

As I shot the wall, I noticed a shadow of myself cast from a nearby street lamp. Rather than fight it, I turned the orientation to portrait and decided to incorporate myself in the image.

You can probably make out my form, with my hands raised. The rectangle, on top of my head, is the Canon Gx7 Mark II. I tried to minimize any vertical and horizontal distortion so I shot from up high and as perpendicular to the wall as possible. Small keystone tweaks in post processing minimized the distortion as best I can.

What resulted is a decidedly strange combination of abstract painting, texture, architecture and geometry. An exercise in creativity? Perhaps. Is it a successful image? Well, you can be the judge.

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9 thoughts on “Abstract Self Portrait

  1. I’ve followed you for quite awhile. I found you through the M4/3 Olympus interest. Generally, I admire many of your photos and the amount you shoot. I’m not as much a fan of the modern. This shot though, caught my interest. I also appreciate you trying to remove the distortion. I came from large format along time ago and can’t stand distortion unless it’s on purpose.

    I once “caught” a painter at a gallery in Newport RI. I asked if he often painted from photos. He asked, “why do you ask”. His scene of the ocean and lighthouse had a decided slant on the lighthouse from left to right. It also looked more like a processed photo than a painting, but who’s to say.

    In your photo, I also find the shadows interesting. The shadows on the left side of the wall look like they’re left to right. Your shadow looks almost directly backlit. Maybe the distortion took the shadow lean out too? I know you don’t print much, but I think this one would be good to try; on paper though. It reeks of old world to me, I think the metal printing would clash with it’s feeling.

    I like the use of color, your shadow, the “live tree” creeping into the scene on the right. This photo has a tone I like. It also has the feeling of NOLA with the raw iron and old world masonry.

    When you were in NOLA did you get a chance to go to the Studio for fine Photography? If not you should try to make it the next time you’re in town. I fell in love with too many prints. Sadly, my taste far outweighs my bank balance, and I’m just not a collector. There was a piece by Richard Sexton of plaster body parts used as “prayer items” at one of the local churches. It has the same tonality as your photo but not as much color (I’d send a pic, but am afraid I’d violate copyright since it would be in the public eye). It was one of the few prints in the affordable range. My fantastic wife surprised me with it for my anniversary. Sadly, the Ansel Adams at $700+k (https://agallery.com/photo/moonrise-over-hernandez-new-mexico/), and Edward Weston prints were not in the affordable range.

    1. Hi Rick,

      Thank you for your visit and lengthy comment. And, thank you for your kind words regarding this photograph.

      There is a wonderful and complex color and texture to this wall, one that didn’t show as well with the naked eye. Ironically, through, the camera’s LCD made it come alive.

      In addition to the distortion correction, I did apply curves and such to add more weight to the image.

      I might consider printing this, as you suggest. I have some nice Hahnemuhle paper.

      I didn’t have a chance to to go to the gallery in New Orleans, but will put it on my list for a future visit. Long ago, before I did serious photography, I remember visiting galleries in Carmel California and in San Francisco. I thought I recall seeing some originals by Adams and Weston. That was a long time ago and I’m sure the prices are tremendously higher.

  2. This photo looks like a photorealistic painting. The colours, composition and subject matter combine with what appears to be multiple sources of light, in the most attractive manner. I like this very much. Well done.

      1. Santana Row had it’s share of controversy. There was a good amount of opposition at the start, plus a huge fire destroyed a good portion of the early construction. 11 Alarms and the cause was never determined. Worst fire in San Jose’s History.

        Next time you’re out that way, head over to downtown Saratoga, then the Montalvo Arts Center. Two cool places.

      2. I have a friend from San Jose that told me about that fire. I didn’t know it was that big, though.

        What do people think of it now? It seems like it’s successful.

        Thanks for the suggestions.

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