Tom Owens ARPS
Images from my series ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’
I collaborated with Brian Grimwood (Graphic artist and at the time visiting professor at University Campus Suffolk (UCS) who had an exhibition of his work hosted by UCS (now University of Suffolk). I was photographing the Private View and noted the catalogue had no images in it but just numbers, description and price. I got bored, as often did at these events, but the no images issue niggled me. The very next day we were given a self-directed project so I decided to explore the concept of random visitors to the exhibition and applying some form of random algorithm to see which images got viewed the most.
There were 66 images in the show and each was identified by a 9 mm high vinyl number. I used a D3S and 105 macro lens and photographed each number from exactly the same distance to fill the frame height. I entered all the image numbers into a spreadsheet and ran a random number generator function to decide what images each theoretical visitor viewed. I then ranked these in order of most viewed to least and worked out the percentage that each exhibit got. These were then layered in Photoshop and the degree of visibility of each layer was determined by the theoretical viewing percentage. This resulted in the image Randomenigma.
I contacted Brian and asked him what his order of preference would be if he were to rank the exhibits in personal viewing order and the same images were then re-ordered. He came up with the ‘Artist Enigma’ title which gave me the ‘Random Enigma’ title. I have others in the series that took the top 18 images from each stack and overlaid a portion of the exhibits with their numbers, resulting in the colour images.