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Using a Camera Lens to Illustrate
January 6, 2012 8:24 PM   Subscribe

Don Hong-Oai (1929 - 2004), was a master of creating artwork which appeared to be Chinese ink illustrations, but were actually photographs. [gallery]

"He would create these images by taking three negatives, foreground, middle ground and far ground, and selecting a subject matter from each negative to form one composite image. All parts of the image do exist in life, but the photograph as a whole is an image that only existed in Don’s imagination. Each photograph is a unique handcrafted piece of work." [via]
posted by quin (18 comments total) 79 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are incredible.
posted by bayani at 8:42 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Beautiful stuff! Thanks.
posted by HuronBob at 8:49 PM on January 6, 2012


Lovely. So now we get to see the sort of scenes that inspired the ink illustrators in the first place!
posted by TreeRooster at 9:00 PM on January 6, 2012


Amazing. Simply beautiful. Thanks for finding this.
posted by gc at 9:01 PM on January 6, 2012


Nice! Thanks for this.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:35 PM on January 6, 2012


WOW.
posted by elphTeq at 9:42 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gorgeous. Thanks!
posted by pernoctalian at 10:08 PM on January 6, 2012


This is insane.
posted by fnerg at 1:11 AM on January 7, 2012


The gibbons at 天子山 are nothing short of amazing.
posted by klue at 2:59 AM on January 7, 2012


So for those who really know this sort of thing, is this effect mostly accomplished in the camera - choosing the right film and exposure settings and light conditions etc. or is there a huge lab component, or do you have to be really be all about what you're doing in both the lab and the field?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:43 AM on January 7, 2012


The process is explained in the article:

He would create these images by taking three negatives, foreground, middle ground and far ground, and selecting a subject matter from each negative to form one composite image. All parts of the image do exist in life, but the photograph as a whole is an image that only existed in Don’s imagination.


Sort of a manual photoshop.
posted by tighttrousers at 6:58 AM on January 7, 2012


My understanding as someone who only associates with photographers is that this has to be happening at all levels of the process. I can't even begin to imagine the specifics.

This is incredible for so many reasons. The love he displays for these kinds of paintings is palpable and he seems to highlight the ways in which the traditional kinds of paintings simultaneously abstract and heighten reality. Someone who knows Chinese painting would never mistake these for one, but it's clear that he wasn't trying to trick the eye, but to pay homage to the economy of the traditional representations by highlighting the ways that he couldn't replicate them.

That, and they're a reminder that these kinds of landscapes actually exist in China, which is hard to wrap your mind around even once you've seen them.
posted by cmoj at 7:03 AM on January 7, 2012


These are beautiful. I saw this on Gizmodo yesterday and wanted to see more. Thanks for posting this.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on January 7, 2012


I liked the one with the nice branches in the foreground.

Seriously though, very beautiful.
posted by captain cosine at 1:20 PM on January 7, 2012


This is fantastically lovely. Thanks for posting!
posted by clavier at 1:26 PM on January 7, 2012


Marvellous stuff.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:54 PM on January 7, 2012


These are spectacular, thanks!
posted by arcticseal at 11:58 PM on January 8, 2012


So for those who really know this sort of thing, is this effect mostly accomplished in the camera - choosing the right film and exposure settings and light conditions etc. or is there a huge lab component, or do you have to be really be all about what you're doing in both the lab and the field?

The latter, I believe, as in this would involve a fair amount of developing/scanning (if he processes his own negatives), colour correction, cropping and composition. All of this can be done analogue of course - it is simply (far) easier to make digital photocollages.

I'd like to know how he prints them - the paper and technique used. I suspect they are digitally printed, but I would like to know for sure. Anyone?

His style reminded me immediately of Seahyun Lee, whose paintings are impressive in person.
posted by beshtya at 1:26 AM on January 12, 2012


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