Over The Edge is a sprawling and ever evolving visual improvisation in book form. I frequently perform video improvisations in which I improvise with several DVD players and video mixers with live music. This book is similar to one of my performances, but without the sound and at a pace set by the viewer. (Suggested listening while viewing--- anything long and flowing -- Indian Music, Steve Reich, Free Jazz, Grateful Dead, etc.)
The basic structure of the book is expressed in its title -- each page is printed 'full bleed', which means that each picture goes over the edge of the page. This structure forced me to crop all of the images, something I normally avoid. It seemed metaphorically appropriate to do the book as one long sequence uninterrupted by text. I'm an improviser by nature, and I often like to impose a structure, and then improvise my way through the structure.
The work took on characteristics of a long free-form, mostly groove-based improvisation. As I selected, modified, and laid out the images, I felt that I was composing a piece of visual music in book form. I found myself arranging the pages in rhythmic cycles, two to six pages in length,. A section might alternate two different subjects, or consist of groups of four or six related images. I kept in mind the metaphor of a rhythmic improvisation flexibly changing beat patterns to suit the moment.
Many of the computer manipulated images were created specifically for this piece using fairly simple Photoshop treatments and some useful filters. I treated the original photos as a musician might treat a phrase to be inserted in a performance and then elaborated on. (Many of the swirly effects at the start of the book were actually done in the camera -- up close, with a fish-eye lens, turning or moving the camera during a time exposure.)
Doctor T (Emile S. Tobenfeld, Ph. D) has been photographing since he was a teenager. He became serious about the art-form in 1970 (shortly after completion of his doctorate in Physics). He was inspired by the mixture of abstraction and realism in the light shows and experimental films of that era, and his initial intent was to work primarily with processed and multiple imagery. He quickly realized that 'straight' photography can also mix abstraction and realism, and has been a devotee of both straight and manipulated photography ever since.. He is self-taught as a photographer, and counts Minor White as a huge influence on his 'straight' photography. He has also worked in video, mixed media improvisation, electronic music, and dance. His day job for the past 28 years has involved making tools for digital artists, first as the founder of Dr. T's Music Software, and currently as a video effects programmer and software designer for Boris FX.
Marya and her Grandchildren Published April 11, 2012
Over The Edge -- eBook edition Published January 09, 2012
Swirlies -Print and eBook editions Published January 09, 2012
A Winter's Meditation Published June 30, 2008