October 26, 2005
  Sinking Back

(Berkeley, 1995. Image copyright Hamish Reid).

Sometimes I'd lie back in the creaky bathtub of my old North Berkeley home and this was what I'd see. It was almost as Gothic in real life as it looks here, and I had one of those Eureka! moments when I realised that I could actually drag my Sinar 4x5 into the bathroom and take a shot like this from the perspective of someone lying in that tub. It took some doing -- the 4x5 isn't exactly small or convenient (think Ansel Adams and pack mules, and film negatives that are 4 inches by 5 inches...), it took a complicated attachment to the normal tripod to let me get this view from within the tub, and it took several hours to arrange the lighting like this and to set up and shoot the resulting four black and white negatives. But it's always felt worth it for me -- both as a personally evocative image and as an image that stands on its own because of the formal elements. I particularly like the texture and shape of the hand towel lurking in the shadows, and the bright small toothbrush holder that mirrors the shape of the larger sink below it. And the various textures of aging wood, metal, and ceramics that provide all the really interesting (to me, anyway) surfaces here.

Not really a domestic surrealism, but definitely some sort of domestica.

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Hamish Reid is a photographer, designer, and software engineer living and working in the Jingletown district of Oakland, California. This is his full profile.

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