INTRODUCTION

This is the tenth issue of “Can Boreal,” a pamphlet devoted to Visual poetry, Concrete poetry, Asemic poetry, abstract draws, Le�erism, Experimental poetry, orthodox poetry, altered texts, prose, collages… And anything else I might feel like enclosing in an unsuspected future. “Can Boreal” is an anagram of “Barcelona,” the city where I live (survive). It means “dog from the north.” “Dog” is anagram of “God.” There is no God, but plenty of stray dogs. Or so is what I think. Dogs are poe�c. Men are poe�c. Life, in general, is poe�c. Tragically. Art is a way to kill �me. A sort of preven�ve murder, if you want, as �me will take its revenge upon us and we will not leave this planet alive. Poetry shows a desperate a�achment to life. A love for life. So, killing �me while making poetry (or “art” in general) is one of those things rather difficult to explain in a ra�onal way. From a distance, it might appear to be like the howling of the wolves to the full moon. One could say: “Stop howling and enjoy life!” But, I guess it is not that simple. This issue is devoted to photography. I just want to thank Mike Dickau, Kazunori Murakami, Derek Pell, Tom Nelson, Jessy Kendall and Darlene Altschul for joining me in this photography-project. We all hope that the recipients of this new issue of Can Boreal will enjoy the ar�s�c stuff. For the edi�ng of this issue, I counted on the invaluable help of Darlene Altschul. John Mountain September 2010

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Someone said (an Englishmen whose name I cannot recall right now) photography was not Art (or cra�) but “magic,” meaning that it had a specific idiosyncrasy which made it “different” from any other ar�s�c discipline. This referred to the fact the technique uses light, the light bounced back from reality itself, to produce fixed and stable images upon a matrix. So, even if we should alter, manipulate or totally distort the matrix (or the prints derived from it), the founda�on of the image will always be reality itself. One can argue that in Art, generally speaking, reality is always the primal ma�er. Maybe so, but in the case of photography, this happens in a very literal way. Photography is a technique to document reality which has no similar historic precedent. This has produced a conceptual “burden” upon the system as “language system.” Photography has found employ in many different fields (architecture, journalism, criminology, etc.). In fact, photography as a source for art-expression (as a method for self-expression) is a fairly recent u�lity of the technique. Many painters became photographers in the second half of the 19th century. But, those ar�sts who con�nued pain�ng a�er the erup�on of photography also were influenced (or assisted) by it in many ways. In fact, the “camera obscura” was extensively used, previous to the inven�on of photography, by several painters such as Vermeer and Leonardo da Vinci. From the very orthodox methods of the first decades of the 20th century, when photography was considered a new “Art” together with cinema, to the present �me of digital-photography, this cra� has suffered a few conceptual altera�ons which might be subtle to the eye of the profane, but ma�ers quite as much as the scien�fic ones in commanding the evolu�on of the technique. Two main factors determine what photography is today, as opposed to what it was in the last decades of the 20th century: Digital Photography and the computer´s image-so�ware (Photoshop and other similar programs of digital image treatment). Digital Photography has altered the way people (both professionals and aficionados) take pictures because the produc�on cost (related
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to film) has been totally eliminated. The images are not engraved upon costly chemical matrixes, but have become mere computer memory. Memory which can be reused and which abstract nature turns into a “cost-free primal ma�er” source of images, has affected how we shoot, how o�en we shoot and how much we shoot. How do we shoot? We shoot faster and we “think” less about the image we want to produce. How o�en? Very o�en: We take photos con�nuously because, unless we print, the cost is nil. We have a camera built into our cell-phone, so we carry a camera 24/7. How much do we shoot? Lots more than ever: Again, the cost is nil and we take photos of both trivial situa�ons and of important events. Possibly, this “no cost” factor has influenced in a higher degree the photographic ac�vity of the aficionados than the professionals. The second factor which determines what is photography today is the digital nature of the images, which favors to increase the imagemanipula�on with the computer. Professional photography goes together with computer so�ware, interacts with the computer, in the same way that it used manual re-touch a few years ago. So, the result is always a certain amount of “transforma�on” (whether it is mere enhancement or evident muta�on). Consequently, the informa�on-file gets “enriched” (or simply altered) in the process, which means the “document” provided by photography is no longer the one given by the “real world,” in a sort of “raw state.” But, that it is a mediated one, a “culture-mediated world,” an improved look of what we assume as “reality.” Digital Photography has changed the concep�on of “photographic image.” Previously, it was synonymous to “truth,” now it is not so. Computer altera�ons are omnipresent and are o�en difficult to iden�fy by the average viewer, who -nevertheless- is aware of the possible muta�on. This fact sits in the back of the head of both the ar�st and the public and it raises suspiciousness, so nothing is taken for granted anymore. This has been altering quite a lot the way ar�sts relate to the technique. From a rather classic approach (in imageconcept and image-composi�on) of the ar�sts/photographers of the first half of the 20th century towards a new use of photography in merely documen�ng “Process Art” and in photography as a complementary source in mixed-media processes of collage, etching, pain�ng, computer-generated image, etc. Today, ar�sts who use photography to express themselves can relate to the technique from a spectrum of choices which is much
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wider than ever before. From a “Spartan” and simplis�c use of the technique, avoiding all image-treatment and all manipula�on of the informa�on provided by the “image-capture,” to a highly manipula�ve control and altera�on of the image by both means of the computer and the manual work (by mixed media). So, if the 20th century´s ar�s�c scene was dominated by photography as document and as a quite orthodox (conceptually speaking) new source for “ar�s�c images,” this first decade of the 21rst century has opened a door towards a new concep�on of photography which crossbreeds with manual ar�s�c techniques and looks for new meanings. I say “New meanings” possibly because nothing seems to hold any “true meaning” anymore. I was myself a professional photographer for a long �me. I worked in many fields of commercial photography. From shoo�ng 20 rolls of film per day to tourists in the streets of a holiday´s resort, to “productphoto” in the studio, through fashion-shows, books for models, etc. This le� me with a sort of “allergy” towards photography and unable to use photography as the main method for my “ar�s�c selfexpression.” However, I must admit that I have been constantly using photography as a collateral tool for producing pain�ngs, etchings, drawings, computer-generated graphics, etc. I felt the need to stop using photography as a way of expressing myself. I wanted to avoid the orthodoxy of what now gets labeled as “ar�s�c photography.” I wanted to be able to use the technique with a new mentality. Yes, I´m referring to a “paradigm shi�,” to a completely new concep�on of it. I may not have reached my goal, yet, but I will keep on trying. John Mountain August 2010

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‘59 Pon�ac Bonneville © Darlene Altschul
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Kitchen Drawer © Darlene Altschul

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Mask © Darlene Altschul

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Scissor © Darlene Altschul

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Leaves © Tom Nelson

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Leaves 2 © Tom Nelson
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Moonflower © Tom Nelson

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Salt & Pepper © Tom Nelson

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Pub © Tom Nelson

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NYC © Tom Nelson

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Crayons © Tom Nelson
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Old Shoes © Tom Nelson
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Tears © Tom Nelson
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Tree © Tom Nelson

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INDEX
Introduc�on ........................................Page 3 Photography ........................................... Darlene Altschul ..................................... Mike Dickau ........................................... Jessy Kendall .......................................... 4 7 23 43

John Mountain ....................................... 58 Kaz Murakami ........................................ 82

Tom Nelson ............................................ 106 Derek Pell ............................................... 116 Index ...................................................... 131 Credits .................................................... 132

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CREDITS
Introduc�on text © John Mountain 2010 Pdf by DKA - October 2010

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