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A Connecting Principle

By MichaelBilottaPhotography    
I am always searching for connections in my imagery, or at least trying to forge them. In all artists there exists a pressure, not sure if it is external or internal or both, to reinvent the wheel with each piece - to make something completely fresh each time. At some point, this becomes not only impractical but also a missed opportunity for exploration and development. Last year I started exploring recurring themes and symbolism in my imagery willfully, to take a symbol - an object or an environment, and bring it back a few times in other images to see what else could be done with it. I've mentioned this before in other notes - use a key in a hand and it means one thing, have the key out of someone's reach and it means quite another thing.

It was with this intention of recurrence that I started this piece, but, strangely, it turned into something a bit unique. I started by putting this model shot into an environment I had created for "the Structure of Pawns" to see what could come of it. Over time, as I pulled in some objects and some ideas, I decided to scrap the environment completely and develop a new one. I wanted bleak, I wanted mist, and I also scrapped the multiple copies of the model I had created in the shot as well. I was stuck. I went through my collection of raw material to see what could be done and I found a tower I had never used before.I placed them where my doppelgängers had been, and now I had a rather ominous scene - but still didn't know what it meant.

When I get stuck like this, I bring in things from previous pieces to see what fits. I added the hawk from "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" and then I had it - a connection - not only to that piece, but also a new connection within this new piece because the bird's angle and shape approximated the shape of the towers on the ground. Things started clicking - six towers - I added six strings emanating from the man - another connection. Six strings and six towers. I added six orbs and embedded them in the ground as markers indicating a direction towards the towers ahead. Lightning strikes the first two towers on either side.

So what do all these connections and recurrences mean? That is the question and the answer is subjective, because this piece is about synchronicity, the concept and term coined by Carl Jung about underlying patterns and meaningful coincidences. The concept is too broad to cover here, but it is about parallelism and connections both psychological, mystical and even spiritual. They can seem like manifestations from your dream state in the waking world, and imply there is something approaching a governing fate at work. Whether or not I believe in synchronicity as a reality is uncertain, but I do and have pursued implied acausal connections in my imagery for a while now. Synchronicity was the central theme of the classic album by the Police by the same name. In the song "Synchronicity II," a working class man is on the verge of a nervous breakdown from bottled up rage on his way home from his demeaning job. At the same time, the Loch Ness monster rises from the water and is about to attack a cottage on the shore. The connection is not deliberate or created by the participants, but is there nonetheless - the symbolic parallel is clear.

This image is meant to imply connections, but I am not trying to spell out the connections, even to myself. Did the strings lead the man to this place? Perhaps they represent ideas that led to the invention before him. The bird in the piece is poised in front of the sun, just as the man is standing before another power source. The expanse in front of him is hazy just as the connections are unclear. It was a fun piece to do, despite the wild goose chase it became. This kind of open-ended symbolic piece is what I aspire to, but they are harder than they seem to realize. Building an image instinctually like this creates a deliberate visual synchronicity through my body of work, and the connections may never be clear, but the recurrence of themes and symbols are something I feel very satisfied in pursuing.

A Before and After version of this image can be seen at:

model: Ed Barron

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people

Voters: Trevhas, annie2020, bluesandtwos and 19 more

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bluesandtwos 11 521 1 England
22 Apr 2014 5:57PM
As I've said so many times before with your pictures and text, stunning. Smile

TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2014 10:47AM
Reading about your inspiration, thought processes and your search for connections in your work is fascinating. Also, from your before and after images, a glimpse into how you actually achieve it.

With this image, I see a division between formality and freedom and the need for reconnection. The formality of the man's clothing, almost mourning-like, and the freedom symbolized by the bird and the bare feet ... it's like he's being led onwards and upwards by the bird, in contact with the earth beneath him, but constrained by the wires coming from his hands behind him, tethering him to the past. He's not struggling against these bonds and he's stationery, so the dichotomy of choice is in limbo - does he go forward and allow the electricity crackling ahead to reignite his passion for life, or does he stay where he is? Safe, but not necessarily alive.

In fact, the more I think about and look at this image, the more it's feeling like that period of complete nothingness after losing a loved one ... the desire to stay with what was, even if it isn't there anymore, or the need of human nature to go forward - not forgetting the past, but also not allowing it to hold us back.

And that's my philosophizing for the day - I need another coffee now Grin It's a mind-bogglingly creative image, and I can only admire it.

24 Apr 2014 2:20PM
Nice image and write up.
IshanPathak 7 202 12 India
24 Apr 2014 4:10PM
Perfection in every pixel Smile


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