Photography – A Beginner’s Guide -An intrduction to “Joiners” & David Hockney – An article by Goff James

Photography can’t lead us to a new way of seeing. It may have other possibilities but only painting can extend the way of seeing.

David Hockney

David Hockney (DH) created images referred to as the “joiners” which occurred accidentally.

DH noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures.

DH did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted.

Whilst working on one painting he took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own.

Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative in its own right.

Joiners came into being.

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David Hockney, Mother, Date and Location Unstated

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David Hockney, My Mother, Bolton Abbey,1982, Location Unstated

The main obstacle for DH was how to overcome the limited perspective of a stationary camera.

A single photograph can only show one point of view, usually for a small period of time.

DH Stated that;

All photographs share the same flaw … Lack of time.

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David Hockney, Don and Christopher, 1982, Location Unstated

DH argues that Cubism helped to topple the single perspective in the hand-arts, but with photography it still exists.

The idea behind Hockney’s grids was to inject multiple reference points into photography, in short to make it cubist-esque.

Cubism is a process of discovery.

Image volume is fragmented into planes which are autonomous and independent. That which is viewed is composed of multiple perspectives. Colour, light and contrast become irrelevant due to the dissolution of the volume. It is the experience of the whole that becomes the critical factor.

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Paul Cezanne, Bibemus Quarry, 1895, Oil on canvas, Location Unstated

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Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman, 1937, Oil on canvas, Location Unstated

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Georges Braque, Violin and Jug, 1910, Oil on canvas, Location Unstated

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Juan Gris, Violin and Glass, 1915, Oil on canvas, Location Unstated

The task for this photomontage exercise was to create a portrait and  experiment with the camera to build an image using many different angled viewpoints.

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In these images I set the ISO at 50, Aperture Value 5,6 and a Time Value of 1/60. This enabled me to hand hold the camera and provided a shallow depth of field.

For any beginner using such vocabulary and statements are a great leap of faith in understanding the basics of photography.

I confess, I still have to refer to my faithful portable paper chart to check.  Initially I built the portrait up in a spiral then abstracted the image even further creating a multi-planed cubist-esque image of the sitter.

Don’t worry about the theory and remembering the vocabulary of photography.

Experiment. Make mistakes. Have fun.

Remember the Auto Mode.

Happy Photography.

Art Photography Poetry

Reference List