Well, I made it to the 5th episode of the resurrected drool. And I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in myself. It just seems so anodyne, so safe and predictable.
A friend recently berated me for being so soft here, he wanted opinion on local photo exhibits and the state of the art, a bit of anger, some gonzo. And I have to tell you that when I restarted this thing that thought did cross my mind. But the only person I feel I can criticize here is myself.
These days, though, I’m much more chill than I used to be. I putter and peck, do some gardening, walk the dogs, buy groceries and make dinner, vacuum, commit some photography, think about it.
Not that I don’t have opinions, not that I don’t see lots of photography that, while held up and applauded, seems to me to be either just old-fashioned or new-fangled. I see photos that only support the status quo, projects that lack depth and commitment, lots of work where the photographer just plugs the subject matter into their system, and images that are, well, just plain stupid.
And I tell myself I don’t care. But I do care. So be sure to check back from time to time, you never know when I’ll blow a gasket. (Why, I got exercised just writing this.)
Suburb opens this Friday at Exposure Gallery, in Ottawa.
Suburb is the last installment of what I’m calling my Ottawa Trilogy. The first bit was USER, followed by Official Ottawa. USER is, amongst other things, about people devoid of any real power; Official Ottawa is a study of the way power manifests itself on a city. To complete the trilogy I decided to key on, for lack of a better word, the middle managers. Of course this is an oversimplification, but you get the idea.
As usual, I went into this project without much forethought other that the idea that I wanted/needed to shoot the ‘burbs. Plus, as with all my projects, I wanted to try to learn about that which I was photographing. Of course melded in with the idea of “not much forethought” and “trying to learn” is the reality that all our minds are closed to a certain extent, walled in by the biases caused by the stress of our years since birth. So the lack of forethought and the learning is, as always, mixed up with that: memory and preconceptions.
Anyway, I went to Barrhaven about 35 times last summer and shot around 350 pictures. (Mamiya 7 and Portra 120 film, for the geeks out there.) From this I scanned 82 negatives and made work prints. (I do this as I get each roll back, I just can’t wait to see what I’ve gone and done). Half way through I did a preliminary edit/sequence which showed me what I could ignore, what I needed to pay more attention to and where the holes were. As summer turned into fall I spent a couple of weeks shifting around the work prints, editing and sequencing, trying to see what I’d done, if it added up. I thought it did.
I ended up with Suburb.
You can click Suburb to see the whole series and come to your own conclusions. And there’s lots more info in this article about Suburb, published in The Ottawa Citizen. If you want to own Suburb can buy a catalogue. (Fifteen US bux.)
I welcome your comments. No vitriol please, but contrary opinions and insights are welcome.
Thank you for your time.