A fundamental principal taught in public administration and management, Parkinson’s Law, postulates that every job increases in scope to fill the time available to do it. The common analogy offered is that if you or I are buying a birthday card for our niece, we’ll go to the appropriate isle at the grocery store while we’re there to get other stuff and spend, oh, maybe a minute-and-a-half to pick out a card. That, or just send a quick note via Facebook. If retired and windowed Great Aunt Mabel is buying a birthday card, however, she will spend extra time sprucing up before going out, then go to two or three specialty shops looking for just the right card, then take time composing just the right message, practicing writing it out, before finally committing it to the card. She will spend all that time because she can. That, or she’ll just send a quick note on Facebook (even Great Aunt Mabel has changed), but she will hover on Facebook for the rest of the day waiting for her grandniece to click the ‘Like’ button.
This principle was first conceived by a professor named C. Northcote Parkinson who, after he retired, wrote a series of excellent novels of Napoleonic Era naval fiction every bit as good as C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series and way better than Patrick O’Brian’s Aubry-Maturin series.
When I reimagined my life to center it around creating and exhibiting art, I established a routine with plenty of time to putter around the house, saunter through family tasks, dote over my art, read, take naps, take care of the dogs, cook dinner, and watch movies. A few years into this and many days I find myself rushing from thing to thing to thing trying to accomplish everything needs doing. By evening time I’m frantic and worn thin. What happened to my careful structure? It has increased in scope to fill the time available. Or rather, it has increased the rate by which it consumed its primary fuel, time, until its consumption reached capacity.
Perhaps I am just waiting to feel the ‘Like’ button.
* * *
The work featured here is the antitheses of the Rule Of Thirds discussed in my July 30 post (there’s actually room to argue that it exactly follows the Rule Of Thirds, although that’s a subject for another time). Rather than a specific focal point located at one of the slightly off-center crosslines, the canvas is filled with a mash of subjects, a short focal plane feathering sharpness and changing tints across both the horizontal and vertical. Its composition is meant to challenge – it’s meant to move the eye rather than draw it to a single point. It’s a technique I’ve used before in work that has sold, so I know there’s something to it. However, those purchased works were done in color, and were more abstract in nature. Other than some tinting, this is a simple black and white in which the artistic effect was created merely through the user of a short focal plane. I’ve said before I believe black and white photography is its own form of abstract because it represents the world in a way not seen by the human eye. Does this work, which throws out the Rule Of Thirds and banishes color, go too far?
* * *
NOTE: This post is part of a series examining the application of digital techniques to film photography in creating photo art, done in tribute to the closing of the last regional retail photography stores.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.