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Jim Baab

Trad. & Exp. Photography


Pomelo Tigress I
Archival Pigment Print

Grapefruit Insect I
Archival Pigment Print

Last Breath
Archival Pigment Print

Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Avenue
Social Media
Artists' Statement:
I have been creating simple photographic illusions, in-camera, since 1994. I enjoy the challenge of producing an image that is both deceptive and evocative; and, I find joy in experiencing viewers’ reactions to my creations.

In 2015, I began to experiment with a digital camera’s built-in reflection effect that mirrors one half of the frame to the opposing side. This kaleidoscopic effect produces symmetrical views that are very similar to Rorschach Test ink-blots; and, as I subtly rotate and position the handheld camera, the evolving symmetry can trigger pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon wherein one sees familiar shapes and faces where they do not actually exist.

After creating several portraits on the kitchen counter, using ornamental gourds as my models, I decided to explore other organic shapes this way, up close, in a macro mode. Torn citrus segments became a luminous muse; (one that I could consume during my creative process) and, each successful experiment made me think of different products and combinations to work with including beet chips, condensation, stainless steel bowls and utensils, eggshells, and eventually, trees.

The results, which are drawn from my own visual experiences, range from whimsical to grotesque, mechanical to anatomical; but, depending on how much of the image is ambiguous, viewers have the ability to see additional figures within each frame based on their own history of experiences. For example, an exploration of a torn grapefruit segment produced what I saw as a colorful, glass bowl with a winged figurine on the front. Within the bowl’s shape and pattern of colors, others see the face of a fox, the shape of a frog, and a muscular figure like the comic book character The Hulk.

Fun note: one of my creations (so far) works upside down as well. It is a dehydrated beet chip study that reminds me of the face of a sleeping baby. Upside down, it reminds people of the face of a cat or owl with its eyes closed.

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