What an effect a zone plate can have on an image! The way it bends light seems to wrap the subject in soft illumination while imparting a soft glow to the highlights. Sharp focus is not possible, but the unsharp appearance only adds to the mystery and surreal feel of the photograph.
This image was selected for the exhibit entitled "Dreams" at The Center For Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.
It took a good deal of experimentation to learn that simple compositions with strong graphic lines work best using the zone plate technique. This was one of the first succesful images that I took with a zone plate instead of a lens. I still love the unique ethereal feel that it imparts to a photograph.
In my mind, this photograph best depicts the way in which the zone plate seems to wrap the subject in soft light. In addition, the diffusion caused by the zone plate, in conjunction with its effect on highlights, imparts a strong glow to the horizon in this image.
I am always intrigued at how the surreal nature of the images in this portfolio can lead to varied interpretations that are usually based on the personal experiences of the viewer.
One particular person, who related strongly to this photograph, had a friend who had suffered a miscarriage and felt that the faint outline of the child on the right of the photo represented that loss. She wanted to give her friend the photo as a gift. When I asked if that would bring back unpleasant memories, she said that just the opposite was the case and that the picture would serve as a reminder that her lost child's spirit would always be with her.
This image is actually a self-portrait. It received a Color Magazine 2011 Single Image issue merit award in the Abstract/Metaphor category.
This photograph is a portion of a Frabel glass sculpture on display at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. The entire sculpture can be seen on the Frabel website.
This image is also one of the few on this website that is not available for purchase, since it is a photo of another person's artwork.
This image was made only a few minutes after Dreamscapes #1 but, despite its similarity, I felt it expressed something just a bit different from that first photograph. In addition, at this particular moment, the reflected light from the sky seemed to make interesting large triangular shapes on the water and in the sand.
This image is more of a nightmare. However, no lives were lost. The head is the zone plate's rendition of a concrete bust seen over a brick wall in a garden.
During the slideshow, click on the gray 'i' in the upper right for 'the story behind the image'.
Dreaming, I am told, is the mechanism by which we allow our subconscious mind to safely express our inner fears and desires.
When I was a child, I used to have frequent dreams that I could recall with great clarity. However, as I have gotten older, I now find that I rarely remember my dreams. My "Dreamscapes Project" is an attempt to fill that void by creating the dreams that I should be having, some pleasant and others disturbing.
What each image means to me is likely to be very different from what they might mean to anyone else. Thus, in order not to direct the viewer down any particular interpretive path, I have chosen to number each image rather than give them specific titles.
The photographs in this series were made using a zone plate instead of a glass lens. A zone plate is similar to a pinhole, but instead of a single small hole it consists of a series of thin, clear concentric circles etched into plastic at mathematically defined distances from each other. This imparts a soft focus with rather unique glowing highlights to the image. No lens, in the classic sense, was used to focus the light in these photos.