David Robinson Photos


Homage to Jackson Pollock – Cligancourt, Paris

This series originated in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I love museums and visit them often. On this particular day I was looking at a painting I had seen many times before - Jackson Pollock’s #10-1949 - a narrow horizontal, one of his famous drip paintings. But as I looked closely, I saw that he had trimmed the canvas (photographers would say he cropped the image) after he had finished painting it; he cut it out of a larger whole.

I can not explain why noticing a few hanging threads of a canvas provoked such an epiphany, but I instantly believed that I could photograph as Jackson Pollock painted - as crazy as that sounds. In some strange way, seeing his cropping released my imagination.

It took me a while to work out my technique and find an appropriate subject, but what I’ve done is very close to what I envisioned that first instant. The format of my photographs is roughly similar to Pollock’s #10-1949 - long and narrow. I can not “drip” photographic images, but I have sought to fill up the frame edge to edge much as Pollock did. Another similarity is the controlled randomness - I am conscious of what I’m doing, but I don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out.

One thing that makes Pollock’s drip paintings a success in my opinion is his limited palette which serves to bind the wild and random elements together. I chose to integrate my photographs by restricting them to a single time and place and a coherent subject. The photographs in this series were all taken at the Cligancourt flea market in Paris, a vast jumble of antiques and relics of every sort and description. I call it the world’s attic. The intricacy of the imagery is faithful to the spirit of the flea market.

As for the technique, I run the film through the camera twice without attempting to align the negative frames - the black lines visible on the prints. Thus the double exposures are not precise. I do not try to remember what I’ve photographed frame by frame, so both factors contribute to the random results. Once I begin, however, I do photograph continuously, completing both exposure runs at the same place and under the same light conditions. Exposure is calculated by doubling the film’s ASA.

These prints represent only a small section of the continuous negative strip - about 5 frames out of a 36 frame roll. The negatives were scanned but not in any way altered. The prints are printed with ink jet. They measure approximately 12 inches wide by 94 inches in length.

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