Thursday, October 08, 2009
This week, I’m seeing everything red.
Red has been my artistic focus since I discovered that its capture is this week’s photography challenge at I Should Be Folding Laundry.
At its best, red is bold, vibrant and invigorating. At its worst, it’s temperamental. Touchy. Difficult. Sure, red is the color of passion and excitement, but it’s also the color of rage and embarrassment. Like extremes of all kinds, it can be fleeting and elusive—if you doubt this, take a look down the main drag of any random burg and look for the pallid rooftop of the local Pizza Hut. Ditto for all of the once-vibrant bumper stickers tooling around town in incomprehensible shades of sickly pallor.
Metaphorically or artistically, red can be a tough capture, as some of my former art students discovered when we pulled this unintentionally distressed tile from the kiln.
Although we broke it up and worked it into a flag-themed mosaic, it took us multiple firings before we got the rich hue for which we were aiming. Consensus among my artist friends is that red pigments are particularly impertinent, which means, in short, that I had a much better shot at capturing red through a lens than with pigment.
Red is more about moments than permanence. It is to be enjoyed in its immediacy, fresh from the bottle and ripe on the vine. The flower will wilt, the cheap student grade classroom tempra will fade, but their hue remains in images that are nothing more than memories captured by my digital eye.