December 2017 - THIS week's PICTURE

Monticello curved : photo by Malcolm Aslett


Classical facades. Pillars and triangles. Virginia loves its colonial heritage and even the local fire station deserves a few pillars and a pediment it would seem. Well, if something works why change it? That said, this image of Jefferson's home at Monticello considerably alters the architecture..

The initial series is (again) put together with Photoshop CC's own stitching program. I'm getting lazy, I suppose. Left to my own devices I would have had the transitions more chunky and straight lined but the automatic program does a decent job of curving the items and giving the appearance of an image taken with a semi-fish eye. This extends to the solution it comes up with for the brick ground.

There were a lot of peculiar elements too. I include a screen grab of what it did to one of the figures' legs in the photo below. Don't make a lotta sense though I guess it 'chose' to retain the pattern of the bricks rather than incidentals. So I went back to the original series and replaced parts as well as having to build areas where there were gaps. The left hand of the building is reconstructed with a couple of shots. The ridiculous balustrade on the roof should give the game away.

The advantage this time is the optical stretching of the building with the retention of the figures in relatively normal proportions.

What we are left with is an almost church like looking scene. The docent might appear like she's preaching but she is today's apologist to a bunch of caucasians for multi-talented Jefferson whose creative self absorption and outmoded beliefs on race provide a complicated take on post-colonial America and the slave owning states. Warped is the word that comes to mind for the representation of this facade and it seems apposite. Down in Charlottesville his University was a bastion of white power till the 1960's, providing the 'enlightened' patricians who pretty much ran the state. In Monticello the home revolved around the distinguished bachelor's needs, which seemingly required the enforced enslavement of more than three hundred souls. I guess he was very needy.

Yes, the warping seems appropriate. And the half, winking eye of a Jeffersonian God in the pediment seems to cap it off.