I like to see how artists adapt to new technologies, so I was interested in what I read in an article by Roger Cox ('When you isolate something, you isolate its beauty...', May 10) for The Scotsman (in case the link fails, as it did for me while writing this, Google has the article cached). An artist named Denis Doran put away his analog camera and started using a flatbed scanner to create images, taking it with him to all sorts of locations. The article has some descriptions of what he makes:
The first group are large scale (2m x 1m) diptychs. Their bottom halves are direct scans of the ground - soil and pebbles, with the odd green shoot pushing through. Doran had to rip the lid off his scanner in order to make them. The top halves, meanwhile, are abstract "ghost images" of the allotment, taken from the same patch of earth as the corresponding scans, but using a Polaroid camera and looking out into the world instead of down. Doran explains: "For the lower images, the scanner lays on the ground. What’s touching the scanner glass is in focus and what isn’t touching the scanner glass falls away, so the image you’re left with is a virtual cast of the ground. The Polaroids were taken from the same spot and then ripped apart. You get a ghost image that way - a negative image as the picture is developing." [...]The show is called Common Ground, and it's on exhibit at a place called Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow through June 11. You can some photographs of Doran in the gallery here.
The second group of images in Common Ground are much smaller (50cm square) but in their way they are just as arresting as their larger neighbours. Using his trusty scanner again, Doran has taken plants that most gardeners would characterise as weeds, such as dandelions and bindweed, and photographed them against a plain black background. This void-like backdrop, combined with the way that any parts of the plant not in contact with the scanner glass quickly fall out of focus, make the subjects look as if they are falling through space. "I think when you isolate something, you isolate its beauty," says Doran. "By removing the context, you can ask people to pay attention to the something that might otherwise be overlooked."