How to Polytet?

A primer on the methodology of Polytet.

The Basic Idea:

“It’s easy to take a photograph of a beautiful woman, but it’s an art to take a beautiful photograph of one.”

―  John Brett Cohen, South African Poet and Photographer.

Polytet is about the found and the incidental. The challenge is to use the camera itself to define an image without physically manipulating objects or subjects within the scene being photographed, and then shoot a photo that will not be edited in anyway after it is taken. This forces a careful consideration of subject choice and framing.

The image has to be perfect, as is, from the moment the shutter shuts and the sensor senses.

The Convoluted Idea:

“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” ― John Cage

All around us, everyday, people are interacting with the city in our peripheral vision and creating marks on the world that they would not consider to be worthy of attention. Street art and vandalism aside, a significant amount of visually interesting material is generated by people who would certainly not consider their contributions and accidents to be works of art. Polytet is about deliberately framing these occurrences of incidental line, shape, form, space, color, and texture, and giving them a new perspective. By tracing, finding, and capturing evidence of these anonymous interactions with the modern landscape, intentional or otherwise, new expressions and ideas can be formed by re-contextualizing them within a carefully composed frame of reference that adheres to formal principles of art and composition**.

That said, Polytet intentionally undermines context, the process is not concerned with what is being photographed so much as what new composition or expression lies within what is being photographed. In this sense it is a macro process, zoomed in, up close and personal, cropping the subject in real time, searching for form within form, picture within picture.

All Polytet images aspire to stand up to formal analysis, and every photo taken consciously considers the unity, balance and movement of all elements within the photo, and takes into account their rhythm, focus, contrasts, patterns, and proportions.