Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Camera & Art

I wanted to take the new camera out into the world. I wanted to take it somewhere alluring (where the viewfinder could locate worthwhile targets). And somewhere serene (where I could take all the time I wanted fumbling with the controls). Ideally also I wanted the destination to be already familiar (where my own technical incompetence needn't lead to immediate embarrassment). Et voilĂ ! San Francisco's Asian Art Museum rose up as the obvious & inevitable destination.

I've photograph these Ganeshas before but I like these new weightier versions better.

The Gandhara sculptures always seemed to me to be just about impossible to photograph -- harshly spotlighted, for one thing. But these versions (again, like the elephants) were substantial improvements over past attempts, and seemed to promise better for the future. Top is molded bronze, bottom is carved wood.

Below, two views of the lid of a burial urn from the Philippines (an object I have long adored, despite its unfortunate placement alongside a ramp leading to an elevator). Aperture priority mode on the digital SLR served well here, limiting tight focus to the mid-ground subject-head and turning the hard-edged utilitarian background into suggestive blurs of color.

All in all, the Chinese sculpture gallery was the most enjoyable place of all to practice.

Photos are from the third floor galleries. Gae Aulenti's wonderful walls of wooden-latticed windows diffuse and filter the California daylight, civilizing any beams allowed to reach these superhumanly beautiful objects.