Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I love a good mystery... especially when that mystery is in the form of a photograph. Specifically, when that photograph seems to materialize in the most mundane places --- stuck between the pages of a book or stuffed unceremoniously into an envelope. The seemingly absent-minded or careless act belies the importance of the document.
Photographs capture not only a subject. They capture a bit of the photographer as well. They show what the person with the camera deemed important enough to chronicle, whether it was a person, place or event. Sometimes these images are not what we would consider "good" photographs in terms of composition or exposure. The power of vernacular photographs lies in the eye of the photographer. And I guess, a little bit in the collector as well.
Because of my passion for photography, I have become the de facto curator of the family photo archives. My paternal aunt has given me a plethora of snapshots as well as a single daguerreotype. My mother has given me some of the images from her side of the family as well. Some of the images have names scribbled illegibly on the back... some others are readable. Most of the images contain some clue about the subject and the relation to my family --- the Dunlop nose from Scotland, my mother's jaw line...
They all document and make real to me long dead ancestors. This helps me figure out my place in my family.
Whenever I begin teaching a new class session, I usually have everyone in the class take a moment to introduce themselves and tell why they are in the class. the most popular reason given is that they want to take better pictures of their families. My goal is to get them to show what is important in their lives.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
When it comes to creative spaces, I think my spirit animal must be that of a wren. I have been known to set up my "studio" in the middle of a street (because the light was right) as well as various open spaces in my own home. My flower portrait series is currently being shot in front of my television... which makes enjoying the evening mysteries and reality TV antics a little tricky. Plus, I have to keep an eye out for my "assistant".
The original plan --- before the economy tanked --- was for me to work and establish myself so in a couple of years I could afford a studio space that could be dedicated solely to my photography. I'm still working on that. And I have met several other photographers who have studio space to rent out when I absolutely have to have a studio.
But I still have a romantic longing for my own creative space.
And then I saw this article on the JPG magazine website --- an inflatable studio. Available in two sizes!
I can't really imagine that I would set this up anywhere... I mean, really, where would I hang the sign? But it is amusing and shows ingenuity and it made me smile. And it's relatively inexpensive, so who knows. Maybe it would be just perfect for my own space.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Several of my classmates from Sean Kernan's class have emailed me recently with images they've been working on. This is only making me want to shoot on a theme more than ever. But what to choose...?
Being a Libra, I've always celebrated my "whim of steel" which tends to make living with me a little exciting. I can be thinking of and talking about researching a new car or sofa... and then after saying "I'm going to just look at this..." I will actually come home with something totally different.
It's kind of that way with photography projects. I've got tons of ideas swirling around in my head, but committing to one feels like I'm cheating on the others. I want to make absolutely sure that what I choose to explore is something I want to be associated with. And so I vacillate...
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Historically, they are gods in their youth. Playing their part in a microcosm that is supposed to prepare them for life afterward.
Most teens spend their days shuffling among classes that someone else has told them they have to master. They don't really get the importance of what is being forced upon them. The recognition of what is ultimately important usually doesn't come until years, even some decades, later.
Uncertainty rules their world. Their brains are not going to be fully functionally developed for another decade. So they process what the adults in their lives tell them and come up with their own world order. It's a world order that doesn't matter after they graduate --- either from high school or from college --- but while they are in the thick of it, they try to make sense of it all.
I think that's what draws them to the field.We all remember our own high school days, either with wistfull longing for their return or with gratitude that it's long over and we're on with our lives.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Maybe it's the cool crisp of the air... or possibly it's the fact that it's my birthday month, but I'm always relieved and feel I can take a deep, cleansing breath when October arrives. My world can be falling apart, but once the temperature dips to the 40's in the morning no bad thing seems like it is final. Everything seems to have a glow of promise.
Maybe I'm a little delusional. But then again, if the weather can affect the human psyche in a negative way, why can't the opposite happen? Maybe it's like a reboot for my system or maybe it's the jolt of the air... or maybe it just makes me happy that my normally stand-offish cat tends to curl up and cuddle with me on cold mornings.
Whatever it is, I'll take it and relish it. Happy Autumn!