Saturday, August 11, 2007

FINDING DIRECTION -- Where to go....

My friend, Billie, wrote me an email the other day, and she said:

"I've been thinking about what you wrote about this last trip, and I think you are not taking your digital color work seriously enough. I know that whenever you pick up a camera you bring a bushel of knowledge and your own aesthetic to the party, but go back and look at the 'snaps' you made at the beach. Amazing for a weekend. What if you decided on a project like the NJ shore. Just like the SoL, work it, think about it. Maybe it is time to move on from B&W film and find a place closer to home."

Where to go? So this is what you wanted to talk about on the phone yesterday.....mmmmmmm I guess what I really need to do is just go more places, period. I think what I do is not so much about a particular place as it is about my response to every place I visit. I have images like those of the NJ boardwalk taken in downtown Worcester while waiting to have the front end of my truck aligned. That's the same kind of images I made when I traveled to Venice, etc. I just need to get out more with the intent of photographing. Your comments made me look back through what I shot this summer -- besides the cemeteries -- and I was thinking there is a very good exhibition there. Quirkiness is what I'm into, and it doesn't reside in a specific place. It's all about us in our daily lives if we only take the time to look. As I look more and more at this "New American Portrait" genre of work that seems to be so popular now, I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe it's is about local observation. By local, I mean where we are when. And that takes me back to something I said about paring down to the two most creative devices we photographers exercise -- place and time/where and when. It was said that "all politics is local" and I'm coming to the conclusion that's true of photography, also. It is not that I take my b&w work more seriously than I do my digital color, they mutually exist, and at times, one replaces the other. It's not something I plan. The cemeteries I shot this summer were an extension of a project I stumbled onto 20 years ago with the Wealthy Cemetery image (not entirely through with this project, yet). With those first few images, I never thought about doing anything like that in color, but if I were just starting such a project today, I think it would have to be in color. Color Digital....which I like, BTW, if for no other reason than its versatility. I know any image can be outrageous or subtle color, or monotone. Choices, I like choices. Time to move from film? No, probably not in my lifetime. It's too much a part of my history. I think if I were not teaching, I would probably not be so much into digital. Probably any new projects I take on will be closer to home and will be in digital color, Hell, just because.

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