contact through lens: contact sheet series (day 5 & 6: landscape & lens ‘residency’)

day 5 & 6: for my last couple of days here, i wanted to just slow down: pause in the landscape as opposed to move through it. i have been thinking of developing a series of screen prints in a ‘contact sheet’ format mainly because i am interested in taking a multiple view approach to landscape as a challenge to the single fixed (and male) perspective on the landscape by making a composite of varying frame, angle and distance – far and near etc. in light of everything i have been testing about analogue versus digital processes and the amount of images i have been recording, i thought that i would work within the parameters of a roll of film, i.e. 24 shots. there is something in the naming of contact sheet that also draws my attention. i remember from my days processing analogue negatives and developing contact sheets that contact meant placing the strips of cut negatives on the paper to develop and print image positives. but i think i like the idea of contact sheets in relation to landscape because i am making contact with it through the lens and through image making – the lens as a point of contact rather than separation or distancing device. so for day 5 and 6 i went again to the woods (day 5) and the mountains (day 6) and picked points to stop and contact the landscape through my lens. i stuck to 24 shots although i could have extended to 36 as again i couldn’t stop looking through my lens and framing and reframing the landscape. i then generated a contact sheet in photoshop.


contact sheet horizon 24 (taken on walk through bishop’s wood)


contact sheet trees 24 (taken on galtee mountain walk to lake muskry)


contact sheet sky 24 (taken on galtee mountain walk to lough curra)


contact sheet sky 24b (taken at another spot/stop on same walk)

reflection: i wonder if my choice of subject matter – sky, horizon etc was some kind of attempt to touch and make contact with something i can’t touch, through the lens. the process of stopping or pausing in the landscape also suggests some slow takes through video which might be one of my next moves. i am not sure how suitable the format will be for screen printing just yet but i am interested in the strip of frames of this film format and might apply it to printing. i also think that the contact sheet (trees) where the frames change only marginally might be more effective in engaging the viewer in actively looking, almost like a game of spot the difference. this links in with my stereograph work also where the frame shifts slightly between the 2 images.

reflection on ‘residency’: over this ‘residency’ i have made a lot of exploratory gestures, some of it reinforcing my thinking on landscape, body and lens and some if it surprising me by contradicting it. overall, the simple decision to respond to the landscape through the lens in some small way every day has been opened up many possibilities of working with landscape, lens and body and given me lots of areas that i want to test and explore further. what i really take away from this is the value of exploratory making in keeping practice and ideas alive and well. it seems like a 2 way process or cycle where my making feeds my research and research feeds my making – coexisting together.


further work: just started to prepare the images for screen-printing. there seems no way of generating a contact sheet without image numbers. while the numbers add to the authenticity of it as a contact sheet, practically they will be too small to print evenly and i think the print will work better unnumbered – as a point of contact rather than reference points so i prepared them individually and inserted them into a master ‘contact sheet’ canvas… now what to do with the colour layers?

horizon contact sheet.jpg

3 thoughts on “contact through lens: contact sheet series (day 5 & 6: landscape & lens ‘residency’)

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  1. Hi Elaine, I found your blog the other week and have been following your photographic journey when I’ve had time away from landscape analysis and planning. Great to see some challenges to the taught way of seeing. I will keep reading.


      1. Thanks Elaine; it’s a bit sparse and sporadic right now as work is getting busy and diverse but yes, there will be a few interesting things going with a week or so.


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