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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Testing tone

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

I'm still rather obsessed with the self portrait I took last year. And I'm still casting around for relatively safe print methods to use in my home studio. Linocut has to be a possibility. I've been hesitating to embrace it because I am drawn to the photographic for this work.


I'm going to limit my thinking to monochrome for now. I could approach a lino print as a single block, a reduction print, or multiple blocks. In any case I will need to translate my image in terms of line and tone. At this stage I just want to look at possibilities for tone, so here are some mock-ups using the posterize function in photoshop:

Whereas I had intended the posterize function as simply being a way of simplifying tonal values, it has confronted me with the sense of violence in my image. The darker tones, particularly around the eye, mouth and neck are reminiscent of bruising. Nan Goldin's Nan one month after being battered comes to mind. The intensity of gaze is similar. Goldin's work is declarative in terms of the time and the nature of the violence she has endured. Her grooming and staging of the photograph implies defiance as well as documentation. In my portrait the suffering is implied, not declared. The apparent bruising is a trick of the light. The tone is one of resignation.

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