I always seem to get hung up in the things I’m pouring myself into. Can’t see the forest for the trees, you know.
Because I’m aware of this I remind myself, in the throes of my obsession, to take a breath, to step back and try to see the long view, to look for the horizon.
Easier said than done. But the insights gained by doing this are always worth the effort. Both during the creation of a project and in the thinking about it afterwards, in the seeing of what it reveals.
Of course, some of the things you notice only after the whole thing is done and dusted are totally obvious. For instance, I just realized the other day that 34 of the 45 pictures in After the Fact were shot within 1.5 kilometres of my house (that’s just under a mile for those who don’t know the metric). Heck, three of them were shot in my back yard and one right inside my house.
Thinking about this I re-realize you can make anything you want of the things that are close to you (and, maybe, the things you want to be close to you). You apply intellectual, aesthetic and moral filters to things familiar (or not familiar) and with enough work and thought, with the right kind of eyes, can turn them into just about anything.
If you look and feel and think right, close to home can be what you think it is, or what you want it to be, or what you can turn it into.
There are less than 40 copies of After the Fact remaining. Go here to pick up a copy.
Thanks to the brave souls who made it to the launch of After the Fact. They braved torrential downpours and two tornados to get there. And when they arrived they were met with a completely dark gallery because of the power outages that were happening all over the city.
Weirdly prophetic, seeing as weather, climate change, is partly what After the Fact is about.
Eventually the lights did come back on, snacks were consumed, beverages were taken to the face, photos were looked at and conversations took place.
Amongst the folks that came was Ava. Here we are, Ava and I, standing by the photo of her legs that appears in the book. (Yes, she is alive, the book is a work of fiction.)
Colin Pantall wrote a very interesting blog post about how photographers having (spare) money (or not) affects the photoworld.
Here’s an excerpt . . .
I was talking to somebody (who appears extremely successful and makes genuinely great work. But is actually broke) a couple of months ago and she wondered if there shouldn’t be a consideration of the wealth of the photographer in evaluating work. If you are stinking rich and can afford that army of assistants and those high production values, should there be a little cross against you was what she was saying. Should there be a red mark of wealth against you.
It’s a valid question and one lots of people ask – but not too loudly.
A few years ago I posed this question on Facebook:
Should photographers who have a good disposable income apply for grants?
Well, a shitstorm ensued in the comment section.
First of all, many folks misinterpreted the question, they wondered how granting agencies might apply a means test to applicants.
But my question had nothing to do with granting agencies applying a means test. I was suggesting (in a passive/aggressive way, truth be told) that those who practice art and who have a trust fund, money socked away, a swell pension, a rich partner, etc., might consider stepping away from the grant money table, that they leave money there for those who actually need it.
It also was brought up that receiving a grant, being accepted by a jury of your peers, was always good for your career, good for your resumé and good for the good-old ego. And, sure, it’s difficult to argue with that.
I suppose, too, that that’s why so many photographers enter those pay-to-play contests . . . career advancement, acceptance, a line in your CV and having your photograph appear in some online gallery or (if you’re doubly lucky) as part of a group show somewhere.
Aside from a few that actually have some industry weight and a modicum of morals, most of those contests are just money grabs that prey on the hopes and dreams of photographers. You “win” but the only real outcome is an ego boost and another line on your resumé, another bit of news for your social media feed.
But, as Colin points out, having money is pretty much a prerequisite for moving your career along, and many (most) of the systems in place to “help” photographers do nothing to address that issue.
It’s good to see that, more and more, people in the photoworld are beginning to question certain foundations that world is built upon.