Why is the backdrop attached to the layout?
I feel like it’s one of those assumptions we have just carried without question. At best we have either “no backdrop” or “backdrop”.
- The forms that three dimensional scenery is composed of will never fade, blend, or “whatever” into the two dimensional form of the backdrop.
- The way we render a scene within the layout’s plane is not like how we treat equal elements on the backdrop.
- There’s always a seam where the two meet and eventually reality casts an impossible to ignore shadow on the sky.
The role of the backdrop is to extend the three dimensional model beyond its physical boundaries. Not only softening that hard edge where the plywood ends but also shadowing in a little more aesthetic context to inform the viewer in ways such as the season, the weather, or how we’re only occupying one plateau in a vast mountain range.
When I saw this image on Instagram yesterday I immediately wondered if we could physically separate the layout from the backdrop. A divorce for the better, to offer each partner a chance to be reconnected to their strength and actually make them both individually stronger and, having done that, make their redefined relationship stronger?
Common choices on materials and the way the scene is composed relate the physical form of the bench to the painting. (Translating the image: imagine the bench is the model railway “layout”).
Choices we make on the environment we present the layout in help us communicate to the viewer the story we are attempting to tell. I don’t question the need to use some sort of backdrop just the question of how it relates to the layout and why we needed to screw them together?
I have paintings and photographs in my living room that provide the same very important sense on context and story to the space. Screwing a painting onto the back of the couch won’t make it more effective. Likely, doing this makes the couch less comfortable and the painting unattractive. In my living room we’ve made decisions so the couch and the painting “go together” but creating space between them so we can relate to them as we should and having done so, created an environment in the room that makes it enjoyable to be in and no less about us.