Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Al Magnus - Master Of Imagination
Al Magnus’ body of work is the stuff that dreams are made of
“The initial ideas come naturally as I encounter a landscape, an old house or a lake, or anything else, like having fun with my kids,” Magnus ponders. “I really think many people have the same ideas or thoughts, but for me, it just sparks a need to remember and to write down in a book before I forget. Whatever happens, before starting the computer work, I’ll have to get all the elements I need and the mood of the picture is defined.”
All of Magnus’ images are a composition of carefully chosen photographic elements. As stated, he gathers each piece independently, sometimes over the course of extended travels. Magnus is meticulous, but he’s also patient, so he waits to find just the right subject at just the right angle. He’ll use a home studio if he has to.
Magnus is a great fan of Man Ray, Jerry Uelsmann and surrealism, in general, though he makes a conscious effort to avoid “the black hats we’re too much used to seeing.” He avoids filters and overprocessing colors in order to construct images that look as real as possible, which help to sell the dreamlike content.
Magnus chooses to use children as his main subject, for the most part, because he finds that they’re more open to his own childlike exploration of imagery and they add to the innocent mysticism of each photomontage. Magnus says that he often includes a child in the foreground, whose purpose is to be a spectator of the scene, in addition to providing the observer of the image with someone with whom they can identify.
“André Breton defines surrealism as ‘...believing in the higher reality of certain forms of associations, up to then neglected, in the almighty power of dreams, in thought’s free play.’ Although I certainly don’t master all the implications, nor the extent of the power of dreams, I think this definition is quite close to what I try to show. But above all, I’d classify my work as put by a critic: ‘It’s all just a waste of time.’ I certainly do agree with him, not only are the images very time-consuming, but also I have no intention in making anything out of them. And like the kids in my pictures, I have a huge ability to waste my time. I just hope I’m not wasting yours!”
To see more of Al Magnus’ images, visit www.almagnus.com.