TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

Couple of quick announcements. Don’t worry, these are followed by some actual content . . .

drool. is about to become a bi-weekly thing. That is: published every second Sunday.

But, wait!, you say, that’ll be too confusing. How am I supposed to keep track of “every second Sunday”?

No prob. Just subscribe using the handy subscribe form, there at the top, on the right. If you are on a mobile use this direct link or scroll to the very bottom for a subscribe button.

Fill it in. Get HYPO. delivered to your inbox. (And know that I’ll never share or sell your information.)

As well, I’ll be experimenting a bit with the format and content as drool. moves forward into the ’20’s. Maybe a bit more multi-faceted, maybe even funnier than it already is (as if that’s even possible, yuk, yuk, yuk).

So sign up and come along for the ride.

And since we’re on the subject . . . let me tell you why I do drool.:

I enjoy the process. The writing helps me know what I’m thinking (and, sometimes, feeling). And that, in turn, informs a whole bunch of other stuff that comprises certain (but not all) aspects of this project I call my life.

That’s the reason I do photo projects, too. Except with those I get to go out into the world and meet people and experience places. (Which, in my opinion, is a richer, more rewarding pursuit than writing.)

And the reason I make them public is ego and a desire to communicate.

Simple. Take it or leave it.

____

OTTAWA NOTES

TALK/DAVE HEATH

Sunday, January 19th Studio Sixty Six will be hosting a conversation between Michael Schreier and yours truly. The public are invited.

The topic we’ll be discussing is something along the lines of “the interior muse”. This predicated by my previous blog post and the exhibition, at Studio Sixty Six, of Dave Heath’s late work.

Who knows what’ll happen.

Anyway, it begins at four Sunday afternoon and ends at six. There will be a bar for some drinkypoos afterwards, to facilitate general hobnobbing.

Plus, if you haven’t seen the show . . . well, that’s a good chance/excuse to have a look.

All the details here.

Plus! Some pictures from the exhibition to give you a taste . . .

____________________

AN INTERIOR VIEW

April last year I bought a new camera, first new one in ten or twelve years. An easy one-handed snap-shooter. The plan was to shoot random stuff and see what developed.

I haven’t done a project this open-ended since I was a young man. Back then I revelled in chaos, randomness and a devil-may-care outlook. For at least the past twenty years, though, I’ve set geographic and/or demographic parameters for myself to, you know, tone down the confusion.

Well anyway, I got off to a good start, if “good” means consistently shooting a bunch of random stuff. But after a while I got bogged down, confused, maybe even a little bit pissed off. Nothing I was doing made any sense. It didn’t add up.

There were a few fleeting moments when I thought I had caught a glimpse of what this project might be about. I put a bit of effort into sequencing some images, to see what I had been doing, but it just didn’t pan out. I couldn’t find a handle.

Then, over the holidays I said to myself, I said, Tony, have a solid look at what you’ve done so far. Pick ten that feel right, put ’em into a row, shuffle them around, reshuffle, add and subtract images, re-reshuffle, repeat as required, find the thread. Begin, goddammit.

So I did. And now, after nine months of effort and aimlessness, I think I’ve finally figured it out, realized what I’ve been working towards, where I want this to go . . .

As I mentioned above, all my previous projects were rooted, somehow, in the specific location or demographics I was photographing. But that’s not what’s important here. This project is not about any specific location or demographic, in fact it’s not about the exterior world at all. It’s an interior view.

Of course it’s all tenuous at this point, and my thinking about the way forward, about the permutations and possibilities, is very bare-bones. But my thoughts now have a foundation on which to build.

In the meantime . . . this sequence is my first glimpse at the way forward. Into the inside.

(Best viewed enlarged on a big monitor. Click the first one for the slide show.
But I know that, these days, that’s probably asking too much.)

_____

OTTAWA NOTES

DAVE HEATH- In Concert For The Silent Witness

Though best known for A Dialogue with Solitude (1965), American photographer Dave Heath (1931-2016) spent his latter years in Toronto, teaching and photographing.

His good friend, Michael Schreier, was left with the archive of colour photos Dave was working on towards the end of his life. A selection of these works will be on display at Studio Sixty Six. Opening January 9th and continuing until February 9th.

Not to be missed. All the details here.

PHOTOGRAPHY & POLITICS

Couple of things to make clear at the start . . .

I’m not talking here about the day-to-day, vernacular photography we see posted on social media. I quite like some of that and appreciate the function it fulfills. (Although some of what follows can be applied to that kind of photography, too. After all, all photographs define, somehow, some aspects of the aspirations and world view of the person who took them.)

What I am talking about are the bodies of work created and circulated by photographers who intend to situate their work within the confines of the “serious” and/or “fine art” realms of PhotoWorld™. What are their personal politics? How is it rendered in their work? Do they care? Does it matter?

So okay, with that out of the way, let me begin . . .

My view of, and interest in, photography has always skewed towards the political. And I define “politics” in photography quite broadly. It need not be, in fact often isn’t, overt. It includes informed and incisive looks at, and dissections of, the world. It might consider personal or global politics from a tempered, poetic perspective, or simply be a photographer trying to honestly define their life. (Can there be anything more political that trying to honestly define your life?)

And, it must be said that a good photograph, no matter what, contains a multitude of wonderful aspects to appreciate. What I hope to find is informed opinion and intelligence, photographs that will educate me by showing me something I haven’t thought of before. Or photographs that cause me to reconsider or expand my world view by shedding new light on something that I have thought of before.

But I also look for and analyze the politics contained in images, whether those politics were consciously embedded by the photographer or not. (And this coincides neatly with my belief that many photos are gateways to some aspect of their creators’ subconscious, to their aspirations and/or world view . . . i.e. their politics)

But (and remember I’m talking here about “serious” and “fine art” photography) . . . but a lot of photographs that are created, liked, and given blue-chip support seem to me to be nothing more than pro forma, commercial images that merely support a product. The product being the status quo.

There are, of course, a million shades of grey. I’ve seen quiet, beautiful work that is profoundly political, just as I’ve seen bold edgy work that seems nothing more than a clever way to separate money from patrons who want to appear radical (while at the same time making sure the art they buy matches their glamorous decor).

Don’t get me wrong, I know we need a certain amount of joy, distraction, and just plain beauty in our lives. And, sure, there’s no reason art can’t supply some of that.

But the embrace of anodyne photography equals a tacit acceptance of the tumult that the world (your world, my world, everyone’s world) is being subjected to these days.

Which side are you on?

OTTAWA NOTES

JUSTIN WONNACOTT STUDIO SHOW

This Friday and Saturday Justin Wonnacott will be opening his studio. You are invited to drop by, look at some photographs, have a drink and a chat. And, it must be said, chow down on some of the stellar snacks he’s been known to make.

Happening this Friday, November 29 between five and nine and on Saturday the 30th from one until about six.

Getting there is a bit tricky but will be worth the effort. This is what Justin says:

Folks are invited to a party in my studio with things to eat,
some wine and pictures on the wall.
My studio entrance is the north door at 82 Rue Hanson in

Gatineau on the second floor of La Filature .
I will leave a note on the door with my phone number to call
and I will open the door for you.
Come and see where I work. But….. If you plan to come please

RSVP in a facebook message to let me know when you are coming.
Thanks, Justin Wonnacott

REMI THERIAULT at STUDIO SIXTY SIX

Also on Friday, No Vacancy, a show of Remi Thériault‘s images of life on the road, in the clubs, and stuff, will open at Studio Sixty Six. That’s November 29th, six to nine.