INSIDE VIEW, OUTSIDE VISION
By MICHAEL PERKINS
THE HOLIDAY SEASON PROVIDES THE PHOTOGRAPHER WITH A READY-MADE BAG OF NEW APPROACHES, playfully disorienting and flooding the senses, upending what we usually think we know about color and light. Decorations are never mere add-ons, but true transformations, creating elegance in plain spaces, underscoring and amplifying our emotions. At the personal level, the sheer accumulated tonnage of memory is the unseen effect behind all the glitter and glow, and it’s that ethereal quality that I try to inject into an already fattened goose of holiday sensations. I take the merely surreal and push it all the way into the dream realm.
That’s not to say that there isn’t such a thing as going too far when it comes to overripe seasonal images. I just suspect that there isn’t, nor have I experienced that feeling myself. In other words, far too much is just far enough when it comes to Christmas. It’s a time for revelry, not reserve, and so the pictures are allowed to scream as well as whisper. Scenes that usually rely on precision, tight focus, perfect lighting, even balanced composition are somehow, for a time, given extra space to flex into the realm of fantasy. Realism takes a holiday during the holidays.
The great thing about a season loaded with subjective impressions is that there truly are no limits on what can be depicted, or in what manner. It’s a time when even the most rigid amongst us relaxes a bit and dials the discipline back to about 4. It’s freeing, and it shows in our pictures. In some cases, it allows us to rediscover the instinctual defaults of childhood, the ability to shoot a photo just to see what happens. In all cases, it makes the days all about visual adventure, the kind of inner joy that’s allowed to come out and play, in front of witnesses.