All about Eve

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photography, black and white photograph, editing reality, negative, using old-style cameras, photos using a tripod, contact printing, coating the paper, ultraviolet light, sunlight use in process, reality, photograph editing, the role of the viewer, silver salt, metal salts, iron salts, viewer experience, relationship of viewer to artwork, reading a photograph, photography as fine art, home studio, black and white photograph, the heart of things, essence, complex subject matter in photography, graphic elements, mystery, memory, composition, composing a photograph, completing a work of art, artwork titles, selecting photo images, image of hand, 1960s, busy and still images, heart of a photograph, nude model, sensuality, art as exploration of self, illusion, questioning reality, reality, mystery in a photograph, photo-shoot,regard, role of the viewer, respect, male gaze, trees and forest, working with an artist's model,
start quoteSo a lot of time I like to present works which are untitled so that you can form your own image.end quote-- Patrick Close

In a video interview for the  ARTSask project, Patrick Close describes photography as, “the simple process of editing reality”. (Close, 2008) In his practice he carefully selects his photographic images to reveal his take on reality and life. He captures his subjects within an atmosphere that suggests an air of mystery or emotion he hopes will speak directly to the viewer. “The work isn’t complete until there is a viewer,” he says of the relationship between artist and audience. (Potter, 2008)

Many of Close’s works are untitled, as is this one - Untitled – from the MacKenzie Art Gallery collection. He finds that titles, while they can be a means to understanding a work, can also block creative interpretations or push viewers in a direction they may not have gone on their own. Close prefers to select the image for its importance to him, trusting that it will resonate with his viewer in a way that is important to the viewer’s experience.

In the photograph presented here, Close shows a simple image of a hand placed on a decorative  backgroundPart of the picture plane that seems to be farthest from the viewer.  of  stylizedTo stylize is to alter natural shapes, forms, colours, or textures in order to make a representation in a preset style or manner. The design of any work tends to result in its having a style, and its having been freely chosen is one aspect of its appeal. "Stylization" suggests a more controlled application of a style, the artist having less freedom of choice. (  flowers, a wallpaper  patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  reminiscent of the 1960s. Linda Harvey-Rioux says that many of Close’s images are, “simultaneously busy and still, intense and quiet,” Adding that: “Patrick has the artistic nature of the philosopher: of someone who seeks to go to the heart of things. He has the knack of taking something complex, distilling it to something simple and yet speaking volumes.” (Harvey-Roiux, 1987)

Untitled was the image selected to represent a photo-shoot Close had with a nude model. Many photos were taken but rather than present explicit images of the woman, he hints at sexuality with this gentle, yet powerful, image. “It is more sensual to suggest than to show,” he comments. (Close, 2008)

For this photo the  cameraIn photography, a tool for producing photographs, having a lightproof enclosure with an aperture and a shuttered lens through which the image of an object is focused and recorded on a photosensitive film or plate. In video, a device that receives the primary image on a light-sensitive cathode tube and transforms it into electrical impulses. ( Find out about 35-mm cameras at Wikipedia:  was positioned close to the model, looking over her shoulder. A gentle affinity and regard for the model are apparent. But some things are not clear.  Why does the model place her hand on the wall? Why did the artist choose this image? Why is an audience drawn to this image?

While Patrick Close is best known for his images of trees and the BC rainforest, images of women and sexuality have surfaced in his work over his career. Critic Greg Beattie has noted a connection between Close’s photographs of trees and the human body in a review of his work: “The trees, their barren branches reaching to the sky, resemble people with upraised arms.” (Beattie, 1994)

In this photo and others like it Close explores how the male gaze perceived women. ”I am a person first and a male secondly,” he says. (Close, 2008) Close works collaboratively with his model to try to reveal her inner spirit in an honest and ethical way. While in the end the photographs are his, he is determined to respect the woman in the image and does not wish to  exploitTo utilize; to make available; to get the value or usefulness out of; as, to exploit a mine or agricultural lands; to exploit public opinion. To draw an illegitimate profit from; to speculate on; to put upon. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  or pass judgment. He sees art as an exploration of self and the world and the relationships formed between the two.

Close is fascinated with how human beings comprehend images and illusion. He is interested in how reality is brought into question when objects appear to go back and forth within a space. In this work, Untitled, the viewer is lead to wonder if the hand is going into the wall or if the wall is encapsulating the hand.

Close works in black-and-white because it brings out the strength of the graphic elements and challenges the artist to carefully think about composition, rather than rely on the  realismThe realistic and natural representation of people, places, and/or things in a work of art. The opposite of idealization. One of the common themes of postmodernism is that this popular notion of an unmediated presentation is not possible. This sense of realism is sometimes considered synonymous with naturalism. (  that  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (  offers.  Black and white images are also easy to  printAn exactly repeatable visual statement which exists as two-dimensional physical material.  in a home studio and, by their very nature, seem to produce an atmosphere or mood, a sense of mystery or memory.

additional resources Interest in Photography
Duration: 1:47 min
Size: 7811kb
Naming His Works
Duration: 2:17 min
Size: 9385kb
Type of Photography
Duration: 2:20 min
Size: 10013kb
Untitled 1976
Duration: 2:17 min
Size: 7811kb
Working Around Others
Duration: 1:48 min
Size: 7802kb
Things to Think About

  • What is a ‘camera obscura’? Try making one by darkening a room and letting a small beam of light enter. What do you find? For more information go to:
  • How is the ‘camera obscura’ like the human eye?
  • Working in the dark-room can be arduous. The photographer must be meticulous and have a good knowledge of chemistry. Discover more about developing photographic images – you can use the following websites as a starting point.
  • Patrick Close has a statement in his studio that he considers daily, “Think less… Paint more”. Why do you think he would have posted this sign? Can one learn through simply doing?
  • Do you think the woman in the Close photograph is married? Could she be captured within a traditional woman’s role or be accepting of these traditional expectations?
  • In the not too distant past a woman revealing an ankle in public was considered risqué. What are the guidelines in your community today for describing an image as sensual, erotic or sexually explicit? Do you think other cultures in the world have different ideas of what is and is not acceptable social behaviour for women and men?

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Poetry and art


In an art exhibit in 1985, Patrick Close presented his  HaikuA form of Japanese poetry. Traditionally, in English, a Haiku consists of three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the third has five syllables.  poetry on billboards in his community. By doing this he states, ”I am no longer presenting the image but I’m calling forth the image from the person who is viewing. So I supply the words and you supply the image. And there is an interaction between myself and the viewer.” He goes on to say, “They [the poems] come from my journey through life. They come from my experiences and my joys, my fears, my disappointments which I think are similar to those that many people experience in their day-to-day life.“(Robertson, 1985) For more information on Haiku, go to the following web sites:

Japanese Haiku poetry usually represents nature using three unrhymed lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line, and five again in the third line.

Hands, sign language and communication

man with camera

Invite someone who knows American Sign Language to come and give a presentation on sign language or find information on sign language where it is explained and demonstrated.

For more information on American Sign Language, and on sign language in general, go to:

Working with a model

Look at portraits of people who are admired within your community or in the world at large. To obtain these relaxed and natural portraits the photographer would have to ask permission of his/her subjects and set up a rapport with the model to make him/her feel at ease.

  • Choose three individuals to take portraits of.
  • Choose a theme that could describe all three individuals such as work, power, joy, hardship, perseverance, etc.
  • • Think about how you will take the shot. Will it be a close up image, a mid range photo or a long shot? Will it be posed or will you capture a selective moment (surprise, distraction, seriousness, joy, anxiety)?
  • Select your best photograph from each shoot and display them as a triptych.



Patrick Close is well known for his photographs of the rain forests in British Columbia. The intense growth and natural  patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  produced from this growth are of interest to him. In his photos he shows there is a sense of order even in the intensely abundant undergrowth and canopy of giant trees. There is a lusciousness to these images he records and it is distressing to imagine that as humans move thoughtlessly and deliverately into these verdant spaces they will be lost forever as pristine natural environments.

  • Look for patterns in nature.
  • A political comment on some aspect of man’s destruction of his environment may be construed from your work.
treed path


Beattie, Gregg.  ‘A New Old Look At Prairie Land.’  Regina Leader Post, Jan, 10, 1994.

Harvey-Roiux, Linda. ‘Brother and Sister Combine For Exhibit Of Photographs.’  Regina Leader Post, April 16, 1987.

Robertson, Linda.  ‘Bill Board Art A Sign of the Times.’  Regina Leader Post. March 7, 1985.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning