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fall leaves

People look at my work and say: "They are photos." But they are not.

Instead, my pictures are made of fractals put together to create imaginary scenes that look like reality, but aren't.

Fractals are how we remember things.

Imagine a Christmas tree. 

Although there are thousands of different ones, you can only remember a few… yet your mind can make a forest out of those few. They are your "forest fractals."

When we dream, or daydream, we create mental images from all the different fractals stored in memory. 

The psychologist Karl Jung theorized the existence within mankind of a "collective unconscious" containing archetypal images of many sorts… visual information transferred genetically from one generation to the next.

Thus, the version of reality we see, hear, smell, taste, feel and live seems to be a mixture of inherited as well as "real" fractals.

So it goes with my illustration work. 

Using traditional and new media, I make fractals of the things I see around me, then recombine them to create imaginary versions that may look real, but which are illusions drawn from fractals.

That's the difference between photography and illustration.

Photographs require reality. Illustrations do not.

No matter how interpretive, photographs are "captures" of reality.

The process of making a photograph is, therefore, derivative.

On the other hand, no matter how realistic, an illustration is an illusion born of imagination, which never existed "out there." 

The process of making an illustration, therefore, is creative.

As academic as that may sound, it is an important distinction because it enables the creation of a style and a body of work… more than a "mere" collection.

I'd sentimentally say my purpose is to provide a kind of souvenir… a reminiscence… because in French "souvenir" means "to remember."

My souvenirs are on steroids, presenting the world as I want it remembered… a dazzling array of hyper-realistic images that command attention and take you into their own world for a moment, to pause and consider another side of life.


The technique is called painting with pictures. Consider the picture shown, called Cystern Dancers:


The model was airbrushed as a body painting. That was merged with a modified version of a photo made at the Cysterns in Istanbul. Both of those appear behind a "curtain" of iridescent varnish.

Other pictures can involve the bringing together of a hundred or more picture elements. 

If they hadn’t already used the word “pixels” for something else, it would perfectly describe the concept of picture pieces.

Instead, I call them "fractals."


For more information email douglas@mesney.com .