4″ x 5″ Black Acrylic
Kelly-Shane Fuller, USA
With Obraz M10 - Děsivá Krása Kelly-Shane Fuller gives us a plate which cleverly, and movingly, mirrors the experience of many of those participating in the Mask Series.
First a bit of explanation on the title of the piece. The prop being universally used by all the photographers in the series is, as you may already know, a vintage Czech M10 gas mask. So, appropriately enough, Kelly-Shane has chosen a Czech title. ‘Obraz M10′ is Czech for ‘M10 Image’ while Děsivá Krása translates as ‘Macabre Beauty’ – which again, seems a perfectly apt choice. When this image first appeared in the Facebook Group devoted to the Mask Series, Jan Kratochvil, another participating artist in the series (who took the extremely helpful precaution of being born Czech), pointed out an interesting variation on this theme. Namely than by simply changing one word – from ‘Děsivá Krása’ to ‘Krása světla’ – the meaning of the image itself could slip from ‘Macabre Beauty’ to ‘Beauty of light’ – an expression most wet-platers would agree encapsulates the nature of the process itself.
As so many of the participants have already observed elsewhere, one of the most inspirational elements of the Mask Series is the sense of belonging to a wider community it has fostered. Artists who are perhaps more traditionally used to working alone until they reach their finished results have, through the Facebook Group, begun sharing their work-in-progress, offloading frustrations, and inviting input. As Kelly-Shane freely, and generously, admitted throughout his work on Děsivá Krása, things did not always go immediately to plan. The final plate you see here was a hard-won piece, requiring multiple shoots. Of course, this is not unusual among Mask Series participants, and several have gone down more than one route before finally settling on ‘the’ plate they want to submit.
It is this experience of re-shooting in order to meet his target vision which is behind another intriguing duality about Děsivá Krása. Although it’s perhaps not immediately obvious to the naked eye in a digital scan, Kelly-Shane deliberately chose to re-use a plate from an earlier attempt, which he had cleaned, but not as thoroughly as he ordinarily would. This means that Obraz M10 - Děsivá krása is not just the last in a line of valiant attempts to convey an artistic ideal, but also carries with it an echo of what went before.
Kelly-Shane Fuller is a creative concept and commercial photographer from Portland, Oregon, and you can see more of his work on his website.