Saturday, 21 May 2022

Mixing up styles of paramontages

A few mornings ago I prepared hundreds of photos for new paramontages (my mixed poetry/photography assemblages) but then after thinking about all the work that’s involved I have let them sit untouched, it’s a lot positioning photos accurately in GIMP (my free graphics software) and in any case I wanted to do something different. So I made a few without the uniformity of the first productions.

Initially, back at the end of last month, I’d had printed snapshots so that they could be framed together with poems, but then I started making paramontages in a computer file on a grid, with each photo the same size as all the other photos in the final version that is used to generate the JPG file. Now, however, I was taking a different tack, buffing up my image manipulation skills so that I could put differently-sized photos together to make compositions. Also, I was now using shorter (6-line) poems from a document called ‘Before Dawn’. This from its introduction:

I started this collection of writerly sketches this year [2021] in late July or early August, making individual files in the dead of winter at a time when I’d almost finished working on a series of longer biographical poems titled ‘Winter Nouns’. I later brought them all together into an MS-Word file but the reason for brevity in the present case was in order to offer myself a sense of contrast compared to what had just occurred in the creative sphere and I wanted to try doing things in short instead of expatiating at length on what had taken place in my life over the course of many eventful years.

In addition to using these short items to accompany assembled photographs I decided to use one of the longer biographical sketches from ‘Winter Nouns’ alongside photographs. One of the files I have in my USB stick ready to go to the printer has part of that sequence in it along with photos taken recently while I was out shopping for mouthwash and batteries. In fact I put new batteries in the Canon on the way out the store’s exit.

As a result of all this activity I have four brands of paramontage ready to show or else ready to print. There are the first ones I did using photos taken in 2008, then a series of grid-like paramontages using photos from different years with free-form poems or with sonnets. Thirdly there are the variously-sized photos in paramontages with short, 6-line poems (one has a sonnet as well). Finally there’s one poem from ‘Winter Nouns’ with photos.

I plan my next excursion to the print shop to fall on Monday afternoon, once the argy-bargy of the election is settled. I probably could use email to send my files to them but I prefer to talk to staff to make sure that I get what I want, even if, due to my inability to manage numbers efficiently, I sometimes give them the wrong instructions. Yesterday when I picked up the latest batch of prints the guy on the desk asked me if I was getting ready for an exhibition, I told him “No” but he’s a nice young man who also wants to be an artist himself.

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