The only way of avoiding distortion is to project square on
to the choice of screen and to rephotograph the image with a plate camera. Then one can correct the angle of view with the lens movements, as used for architecture, or
However, more often than not, distortion can be a very interesting effect if used
carefully. It can even be a very dramatic tool. Any image can easily be
elongated and stretched, or squashed and made wider. It just depends on the
angle of the projector, or the camera, to the screen.
Focus can be a problem, if too great an angle is attempted, but just as stopping down with
a camera increases depth of field, it is also possible with the projector. Place a mask between the projector lens and the screen and see how out of focus areas of
the projected image will then become sharper. By using both methods quite
exaggerated distortion can be successfully achieved.
An example of a greatly distorted portrait is plate 14 (above). This portrait
was projected at a fairly sharp angle, on to some silk, in order to thrust out the
chin. The angular image suggested the required dramatic sculptured look.
So far it has been shown how an image can be influenced by;
the addition of a texture, the effect of distortion, the use of colour filtration, and the
use of negatives, or black and white films.
Another fascinating way of manipulating a projected image is to consider reflections.
The principle involved is basically to rephotograph a projected image as seen
in a mirror, or bounced off a mirror. But instead of using a mirror, there are
many other options. Try a piece of acetate film, as this material allows one to
bend or twist it, and so distort the image seen, by forming a flexible mirror.
There are two quite different effects achievable even with the flexible mirror in a fixed
position and the same image projected. The first method is to project the
image on to a screen and to photograph the reflection seen. The other is to
project the image into the flexible mirror, so that it bounces off it, on to the screen,
it is this new image that is then to be photographed.
These reflections do require a lot of patience to produce what is desired, but the results
that can be achieved amply justify the time and effort involved.
There are many reflecting surfaces that can be used. They do not always need
to be smooth, a highly polished old silver cigarette case, with a machine finished pattern
as an over all design, was used to advantage to create plate 60 (above).
the blurred areas of the picture that are the most influenced by this machined pattern
reflection. The end result however has transformed what was not a very
interesting original picture.
All photographs including those techniques already described can be made into patterns,
rather like a kaleidoscope by the use of mirrors. By positioning mirrors at
right angles to each other, with the image projected on to a choice of screen in such a
way, that the reflections are repeated in the mirrors will then form a pattern that can be
Two quite small mirrors were placed on a white surface in this
way to form plate 15 (above). The possibilities of scale and size are no
problem when projecting images, the biggest building in the world can easily be projected
between a couple of small mirrors, or on to a small object!
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