Sunday, November 30, 2008


Indian Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada August 1991

The term "generalist" has been tagged to much of my work by a few of the curators, collectors, and critiques to which I have shown portfolios. And such comments were not offered as a positive response to the work, but rather they were being critical of how my work did not fit into the accepted trend that you have to make a whole bunch of pictures about the same idea, concept, or thing until you have photographed it to death. I can't do that. I'm more interested in things that are visually interesting, period. Those things that make me stop, linger, and look more closely. Those scenes that make me literally do a double-take. Often it is simplicity of uncomplicated scenes like the one above. I just liked the way the gulls dotted that spit of rock jutting out into the calm water. They were kinda' like notes on a sheet of music. I remember being transfixed for a few minutes as this scene played out in my head. I had to ask a fisherman who was working in his fish shack if I could set my view camera up on his back dock. I indicated to him what I wanted to photograph, he looked at the scene for a few seconds, then at me, and said, "Yeah, sure," like he understood why I wanted to make this image. I make a lot of such images, things that make me stop, like my brain wants to process the what I'm witnessing. The common thread of my work isn't about how many photographs I can make that illustrate a single concept, but rather a series of seemingly non-connected images that weave the fabric of my visual experiences.

1 comment:

Steve Williams said...

I think critical opinion changes and flows. A generalist vision and approach will rise again.

I often wonder if the singular approach is embraced because it is easier for collectors and buyers to say "I have a Cindy Sherman" and have people pretty much know what the picture will be like.

Saying "I have a Frank Armstrong" could me a lot of different things.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

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