Alan Kaplan  

Perchance to Dream by Alan Kaplan

November 2019 - Perchance to Dream

November 2019 - Alan Kaplan

Original 1

November 2019 - Alan Kaplan

Original 2

November 2019 - Alan Kaplan

Original 3

About the Image(s)

This is the “poster child” for “if at first you don’t succeed . . . .” The image started in March 2018 with the railroad tracks in a desert, sand dunes in the distance, a dancing girl flirting with an orthodox Jew, a lamp post, a Greek column, and the chess board without squares missing. I revisited the composite intermittently over the past year+ and replaced the desert with the Antarctica mountains in May of this year.
There have been a lot of layer masks during that period of time as I replaced and re-replaced figures and objects. The 2 year old boy in Original 1 is my, now, 16 year old grandson originally waiting with anticipation for a water fountain to erupt again. The light in the hole he is staring into is a radial gradient on its own layer so I could reduce the opacity.
I drew the interiors of the open squares with a very small gray brush and used a gray linear gradient to give the sides depth. The chessboard is mine and I took a picture of 4 squares and cut and pasted the rest.
I actually keep fortune cookie “fortunes” that I like. This one applies to “Perchance to Dream”: “An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.”

11 comments posted

Helen Sweet   Helen Sweet
(Groups 34 & 37)
So characteristically yours, recognizable without your name. Lots of work here with a result that prompts much speculation and attention to the many elements while still hanging together as a unified image. Where are the mountains?   Posted: 11/05/2019 16:23:21
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
The mountains are in Antarctica. I took this picture from the deck of a cruise ship. Unfortunately, we did not set foot on land though there are smaller ships that do that. It requires boots, heavy coats, etc.   Posted: 11/06/2019 08:45:48

Aavo Koort   Aavo Koort
Magnificent. I have nothing to add.   Posted: 11/11/2019 18:27:25

Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Alan, You've created another beautifully executed intriguing image. I love your surrealist sensibilities. I find the line coming out of the fish's mouth a significant distraction. I would consider removing that entirely and might even consider taking the fish out entirely as the boy looking into the missing square is so visually strong, the fish distracts for me. The train and the dress are enough additional elements to draw the eye around again and again. One other nitpicking element, I might tone down the contrast just a touch on the front of the train, just a touch.   Posted: 11/12/2019 13:29:15
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for your feedback. Although I did not lighten the front of the train in my edited version, I agree that the front of the train is too dark. As per your suggestion, I removed the fishing line and the fish, then covered the hole in the chess board. I feel the composite in unbalanced without the fish or something else there to fill the visual hole left by the fish's absence. As I said in "About the Images" section, I tried a lot of different people and things in several configurations over the past year . I settled on one and then changed the desert to mountains just before sending this in. I guess there's no one right answer.   Posted: 11/13/2019 11:10:38
Comment Image

Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Alan, These kind of images often can go so many different ways. I too have done multiple versions of the same image and it can be hard to know when I am done. Usually I'll put it aside and open different versions on a different day and it is easier to see which one is more powerful. I think the line was the most distracting element in your posted version. I understand your struggle with this simpler version but I do like it. I also like the version with the water and more impressive mountain range. Maybe you can take out the line and have the fish a little smaller poking its head out almost mocking the child as if to say "here I am". Anyway, this is your picture to play around with. Ultimately you should feel proud as it is very well done.   Posted: 11/13/2019 13:36:06
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for taking the time to offer you point of view. It's the varying points of view that make belonging to the group worthwhile. I didn't even realize that I took the fish out of one of the earlier incarnations. I also like the water and the mountains.   Posted: 11/13/2019 18:08:13

Jan Handman   Jan Handman
(Group 34)
I like this image a lot Alan. I too like the mountains and water, and I like the fish included because it makes a varied and interesting group of three on the chess board. Maybe just removing the line from the fish's mouth would work? Well done!   Posted: 11/14/2019 11:36:19
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
I saw your name and photo and forgot what group this was. I went back to the image and took out the fishing line, but it didn't move me. Then I took out the fish and left the hole. Nothing. In my folder of people, I found a woman sitting in the perfect position to sit on the edge of the open hole, but that didn't move me either. I guess I like this image a lot, too. Thanks for browsing.   Posted: 11/14/2019 14:04:54

Peggy Nugent   Peggy Nugent
Fabulous image, Alan! Definitely worth all the effort you've put into it throughout the years.
I love the way the train brings me in and the chessboard dead center nails it. That dress is incredible. I have seen elaborate period dresses in museums countless times and always thought them very static, but the way you have the hem draping over the chessboard is just exquisite.
I think the mountains work much better than the desert. They really play off the train.
That fishing line really bothers me. It is your image, and if you like it as is, of course you should keep it. It just seems to divide the image for me, and I itch to clone some of it out. It would be interesting to see it going maybe a third of the way up, perhaps in the middle of the mountain. Just a thought.
  Posted: 11/17/2019 17:41:55
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for your comments. The dress comes from the Ocean Grove, NJ Historical Society museum. It's a tiny museum, but the Ocean Grove Historical Society is the "Little Museum that Could." I'm always looking to take pictures of people and things that I can incorporate in future composites. The fishing line seems to be the point of contention for the group. Luckily this is all digital and I can revisit in the future.   Posted: 11/17/2019 18:23:43


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