Monday, October 22, 2007

let's try that again

So... it's nearly four months since I signed up for this blogger account, but for some reason it occurs to me today, right now, that I should actually give it a shot. But why? Not only do I question what I've got to spew out into the world, but what are my motivations behind it?

Jen, my wife, recently argued that everything we do is ego. That ultimately, every action is an act of self-interest. Sure, I suppose there's an element of that here, but what's wrong with that? Ultimately, as a photographer, my world is small... most days spent alone. It seems that what I appreciate from blogs like those written by Brian Ulrich, Alec Soth, Todd Deutsch, and others is simply the notion of community... that reminder that there are other people out there each day thinking about photographs, or books, or sex, or whatever. Ultimately, I'm just another geek using a camera and a computer to try to make sense of the world.

For example, though I've been photographing and teaching for years, I just stumbled upon this great example of the importance of both light and context:


I came across this picture while looking through Ralph Gibson's archives for work to show students tonight and was kind of taken aback at how silly it is. Aside from Yankee Doodle, it also made me think of a recent post on Alec Soth's blog where he questions the role of context regarding Jock Sturges and his photographs of naked kids. Though convinced of Sturges's good intentions, Soth questions if the commercial context of the photographs, their availability at Barnes & Noble for example, overpower Sturges's intentions? Though it's not the same situation, I can't help but question if this particular photo were in color and flashlit would it live within the context of Art? In this case, the black background & b&w immediately place the photo within the context of art, whether it works or not. That's the main problem with student work inspired by figure studies or the like... it's difficult to elevate the subject to icon if he or she is grounded by a fruit bowl on the coffee table or the glare of a flash off the door of that romantic fireplace.

I guess it all comes down to that simple truth that every part of the photograph matters.

By the way, I just tried googling "ass + feather." Yet again, it's all about community... I guess I'm not alone.

1 comment:

jacinda said...

for some reason "ass and feather" was never part of the gibson's available photographs for printviewing at CCP. go shawn! the new alec soth.