#1053. On The Inside Looking Out

By Ian Varkevisser | Art & Creativity

Oct 26

There is a story that Italian artist and Picasso contemporary Gino Severini willingly gave his broken (and therefore useless) camera to Picasso, who was curious about the odd images it produced. Picasso played with his new toy and ultimately realized that it showed him a new way to paint. Thus cubism was born.

In the initial months of lockdown the country I live in had extreme restrictions. By and large the population were confined to their houses and not allowed to venture out except to shop for essentials. We were basically on the inside of our dwellings looking out onto a largely empty world.

If Picasso were alive today and confined under similar circumstances what might he have painted and found as sources of inspiration ?

Would it be possible to produce a series of images akin to vibrantly coloured cubist paintings I wondered during these idle times of confinement?

Whilst like Picasso I do not have the luxury of a cracked lens and bearing in mind the cost of gear I was reluctant to take a hammer to one of my lenses. I do have a friend who has a slightly damaged lens but it is a canon mount and that is a story for another day.

So the first hurdle I would need to overcome would be to have that fractured look in the images. To achive this I rigged up a contraption of 3 mirrors taped together into which a wide angle lens could fit or be jammed with the help of rocket blowers. Then the hunt was on to find places in the home into which I could fit the rig.

What follows is a series of images of a cubist’s impressions of items around the house titled from the inside looking out.

The colour palette has been restricted by changing hues. Overall saturation and vibrance in the images have been pushed in an attempt to simulate gaudy acrylics.

tumble dryer

pot cupboard


liquor cabinet


guitar case

garden tool basket

engine compartment

the cubism contraption

Gear Matters : Fuji X-T10 with canon remote release. The initial 4 images in the series were taken with a 16mm focal length producing limited fracturing. The final 4 images were taken with a 10mm focal length creating more fracturing and abstraction.


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  • JohnW says:

    Great Galloping Picassos Batman!!! I Love It; Love It; Love It!!!

    You’ve given me a whole bunch of new ideas. Now all I need is a cheap WA lens.

    Stay tuned. The hunt is on.

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi John, a mere simple fun experiment to relieve boredom during incarceration in solitary imposed by just another power grabbing government. But if it ends up inspiring just one person to think out of the box and explore their own creative ideas – job done. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • Lani Edwards says:

    You are a source of inspiration and your creativity bucket must be overflowing!
    So clever. Especially the contraption you rigged to bring the idea to fruition.

    And the colours are obscene 🙂

    Well done, sir.

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Madam, I thank you for your honest critique – i think – and encouragement – definitely. 🙂 I am reminded however of a quote “If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth”.

  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    Bravo! So inventive! I was–and still am–smiling with admiration. Wonderful! You brightened up this day considerably with your perspective–or is that perspectives. Now I am thinking how great a self portrait one could take with your invention: it would be a heck of a lot more interesting that the usual run of selfies out there! My hat is off to you, Mr. Ian Varkevisser!


    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi Claude, I am pleased this tickled your fancy. It is highly unlikely you will find a self portrait of me around , seeing i consider that form of photography the height of narcissism. However in the pursuit of science and the furtherment of the arts perhaps let me encourage you to follow through with your idea and enlighten us as to the results of your experiment.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    As the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”! And, my friend, you have proved that here by turning confinement into a creative way of photographing what was around you. Kudos!
    I must also mention that the images remind me of what my world felt like when I had a bout of vertigo a few weeks back

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi Nancee, now that you mention it they do have that look about them that makes one nauseous , my apologies , but who was it that said art disturbs science reassures. Hope you are well over the vertigo and that they do not act as a trigger.

      • Nancee Rostad says:

        I am well over the vertigo thanks to a physical therapist putting me through some maneuvers to correct an inner ear issue. Your images aren’t triggering in the least, so no worries there! They are actually very much like a kaleidoscope in nature, quite pleasant and entertaining : )

  • Lad says:

    Ian, These are amazingly inventive images–or rather the images are amazing and you’re the inventive one! Kudos. Lad

  • Sean says:

    I see creative and artistic fruits have sprung from your invention, being your ‘Ken-Kenidoscope’ device. Well done, Ken.

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      An accidental moment of ingenuity – Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to comment Bob. 🙂 much appreciated

      • Sean says:

        Ha ha. Got it. No worries David. I’ll have to let both Ken and Bob know about Ian’s accidental ingenious optical device. 🙂

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’m feeling a pang of jealousy – apart from the fact that I’m hooked on Nikon, I rather fancy the look of that camera. It actually LOOKS like a camera!

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi Pete, I started out my photography a mere 7 years ago using Nikon, and when I made the decision 2 years later to move to mirrorless technology both of the big guns Nikon and Canon lagged well behind and seemed dismissive of the technology with their market place offerings. In the APSC range the choice was obvious and I took the bold step to cross over to the dark side. A decision I have never regretted. On many occasion the little Fuji has been mistaken for a film camera and I have really enjoyed the tactile shooting experience, ease of use and lightweight portability it offers, amongst many other benefits. Sure there are some features that don’t stack up but I would not trade it for anything else when it comes to either street photography or landscape photography. A number of my peers, who as they have aged, have also crossed over to the dark side and to the benefits of the newer technology.

  • Dallas Thomas says:

    Ian, wow, a very big wow, well done on the creativity the images are magical.

  • philberphoto says:

    Totally inspiring, Ian!! But I can’t say it any better than the opening sentence of JohnW’s comment. Wow! Very, very Wow!

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