The realm of magic realism comes alive in “The Rest Between Two Notes”
“I’m considered a fine art photographer, but what I actually do is photomontage,” says Forman. “I constantly take photographs, and then I recombine them and manipulate them. Rather than shoot a specific scene, as many photographers would do, I shoot and then use those pieces as source material to then create completely new scenes. So, it’s kind of in the realm of magic realism, what I create.” (Sony Alpha Universe Interview)
With that statement one can only guess as to where the “magic” comes from for Fran Forman, a photographer I have known for a few years and has been published in Shadow & Light Magazine several times. She was recently the Grand Prize winner of the Color It Red 2020 call-for-entry. Her wonderful image, “Breana,” graced the cover of the March/April 2020 issue of the magazine.
As I only recently have begun to explore the possibilities of “photomontage” I can fully appreciate the ability Forman possesses. Her images don’t display some of the more precise technical aspects of a few of her fellow practitioners of this relatively new art-form. For this writer that is what makes her work more compelling; the lines are blurred, the results thought provoking.
More than 25 photographers compellingly comment with poetry and prose on the work in her new publication, The Rest Between Two Notes (Unicorn 2020).
“a family meeting-three sisters light five tapers… listening for ghosts,” writes Nancer Ballard of “Candlelight.”
“Send me your eye. I’ll give you my heart,” Larry Fink writes about the image “Angelika’s Eye.”
Gordon Chase wonders about “Mirage:” “What has happened here? Has the young girl set the blackbird free or has it escaped? Two witnesses look on and can confirm the impossibility of the bird’s capture.”
“For one hour a day, starting at eleven in the morning, a different world opened on to Emma’s chest, smooth transparent slabs of topaz or aquamarine,” Monica Raymond offers for “Emma with Lights.”
Comments such as these are offered with ease. Given in praise. Poetic tributes abound throughout.
It is in this process of the image and the intimation that we are drawn to sit for a while, turning pages slowly, reading text and sipping slowly of the color, composition and context of each image.
One of my favorite images (If I can only have one!), “Portrait of a Woman with a Gold Headpiece,” (pictured) serves to enable me to linger and take my time with each part of her wardrobe. She is a product of many lifetimes. Many lives. The knowing straight-forward look tells me she might know me in this time, or another. She is wise and compassionate.
“At the time of Fran’s entry into photomontage in the early ‘90s, the process was a relatively novel approach to making artwork and practiced by few,” Paula Tognarelli writes in the Foreword. Although the tools she works with might be like other photo artists today, her library of photographs is unique to her, as all are made by her or handed down by her family over generations.”
Of her process she writes in the Afterword, “The process is not random but is intuitive, organic, sometimes rooted in my interest in art history. In creating each visual narrative, I consider not only the individual components and their relationships but also color, composition, contrast, texture, and scale. I allow the images to direct the process, with my subconscious in command. Quite often, the image moves in a different direction and the narrative shifts.”
With “Notes” Fran Forman is offering us a look into her world, fantastic as it may be, if only for glimpse. It is a rewarding glimpse indeed! “It’s kind of in the realm of magic realism.”