A little over a decade ago I became really interested in how photographs existed on the Internet in regard to the keyword information that was embedded into them. As a way of exploring this, I set out to make some artwork based on these cataloging capabilities available through various search engines. I grinned at my ability to search out photographs using specific words and giggled at the distortions of images that were attached to misspellings.
Ten years ago, the pace at which photographs and image-based assets were being loaded onto the Internet was dizzying. Fast-forward to the present day and the Internet-based visual information available to us, and the cadence in which new content is created and uploaded is breathtaking.
In honor of Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday on May 24th, 2021, I dug out what I eventually made several years ago during my early experiments with keyword searches and their resulting images. iSubterrenean Homesick Blues was created by my keyword searching the lyrics to each verse of Dylan’s classic Subterranean Homesick Blues to see what kind of photographs were attached to the words. It is a contemporary, technologically updated video version of the famous Subterranean Homesick Blues film with the cue cards that was shot in London in 1965, by D.A. Pennebaker and appeared at the beginning of his 1967 documentary, Don’t Look Back.
I built the project with the help of Google’s search engine. I was able to enter in the words to the song, set filters so I could narrow the available pictures down to large jpegs, and search out and choose just the right images. I then created a Lightroom Catalog to edit down everything I curated to eighty-eight total images. From there, I made four PDFs (one for each verse) and installed them on the Books App on an iPad (a first-generation one) and with the help of my friend Justin Schmitz, shot this video. Part satire, mostly homage, and at the end of the day, a nerdy good time!
…and for good measure, the original!
Bob Dylan is a living legend who is still recording and performing. All of us at Esthetic Lens want to wish him a very Happy 80th Birthday. He can be found online at www.bobdylan.com