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.

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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 . . .

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A GRANDER SCHEME

In which I begin to stick prints to a board, looking for some pattern, some something.

And if process doesn’t interest you just scroll to the bottom for a review of Leslie Hossack’s show Freud Through the Looking-Glass.

Let’s go . . .

TRIAL AND ERROR AND ERROR AND ERROR

I’ve never enjoyed aimless photography . . . you know, walking around grabbing, like a crow, any shiny thing that attracts my attention.

Neither have I liked photography that is ultra-focused . . . you know, those bodies of work where every damn photo is just about the same.

A grander scheme is what I’m after, something with deeper complexity and dimension than either of the above-mentioned approaches engender.

Now, I prefer to let the subject matter, as much as my biases and proclivities, inform how I photograph each of my projects. The problem here, or, rather, one of the problems, is that I have no idea what the subject matter actually is. This project doesn’t even have a name or any coordinates.

And I must stress here that the subject matter does not necessarily have to be that which I’m photographing. No, the stuff I’m photographing might just be a stand-in for some other thing. You know . . . metaphorical, metaphysical, something.

So the other day I chose 48 images from my select folder and made some small prints.

And so it begins, this (other) initial phase of a project that is unlike any project I have done before.

I’m gonna stick ’em up on my bulletin boards, move ’em around and look for some sense, a pattern, some way forward. At this point I’m just trying to find out what the aim of this project might actually be.

And part of this phase is (maybe) figuring out how I want the images to relate to one another, bearing in mind that the final form of this thing will (might be) be some kind of printed publication.

I kind of like the idea of 2-shot columns. And of course there’s always the good-old standard side-by-side thing. Or what about simply one photo by itself, and then another?

The only thing I know at this point is that I don’t know. That, and that there’s a whole lot more image-gathering, pondering and trial and error and error and error ahead of me.

Something to look forward to.

OTTAWA NOTES

LESLIE HOSSACK at STUDIO SIXTY SIX

After more than a decade spent studying (with brilliant icy precision and a lack of sentimentality) the architectural infrastructure (and thus the politics) of the era surrounding World War II, Leslie Hossack has shifted focus.

Her new work, Freud Through the Looking-Glass (on view at Studio Sixty Six), is framed as a study of the pre-war Vienna of Freud and Hitler, but the photos belie that strict interpretation. This work shows us Hossack’s reactions to encountering the, for lack of a better word, infrastructure surrounding Sigmund Freud.

That is . . . rather than showing us, as she has done in the past, her arrival at some destination (the East Gate of the 1936 Olympic Stadium in Berlin, for instance) here Hossack shows us her journey to the destination.

Not to give you the idea that these photographs are a travelog of her trip to Berggasse 19, in Vienna, where Freud lived and practiced for almost 50 years. On the contrary, the images here are all situated either directly outside Freud’s old office, or in its inside. The (subtle but present) difference from her previous work lies in the type of images Hossack has brought back from that encounter, as well as in their sequencing.

We are brought from the outside to the inside through a chronological sequence. We enter and move through a hall to the couch where the psychoanalysis took place. It’s a trip.

Further, on the facing wall is a series of images where we see, mapped on as a ghostly smear, Hossack’s face reflected in the glass that covers some of the art and other artifacts that inhabited Freud’s office.

By inserting herself, and by adding narrative elements to the whole, Freud Through the Looking-Glass shows us Hossack’s reaction to what’s in front of her in a way deeper than just registering awe. The work begins to become psychological.

Recommended.

Leslie Hossack
Studio Sixty Six

HERE I AM. WHERE THE HELL AM I?

RECENT HISTORY

drool. petered out early January this year. Then, because I bought a new camera and wanted to figure out what to do with it, I retooled and restarted it in early April. You see, I use this space to figure photo-stuff out.

Camera porn

But now summer is upon us and I’m going to take a break from blogging. Probably be back the first Sunday after Labour Day.

In the meantime . . . have a swell summer, take ‘er easy, and, conversely, keep your bullshit detectors up and running. There can never be enough critical questioning.

Anyway . . .

HERE I AM. WHERE THE HELL AM I?

Here I am, 11 weeks after I got my FujiFilm X100F and began some completely undefined photo-project. So where the hell am I, anyway?

Camera porn: selfie

Let’s get the real geek stuff out of the way first. I quite like this camera. it’s fun and easy to use once you turn all the doodads, auto functions and options off. (The only one I use is aperture-priority auto exposure.) And I love the optical viewfinder (having a real hate on for the way electronic viewfinders separate you from what’s in front of the lens).

The problem, though, is figuring out what I want to actually do with the thing. What do I have to say and how can it help me say it?

Camera porn: close up

Let me tell you a little about my process. (And the X100F certainly makes the first point here darn easy.) . . . .

  • Go out and take some photos.
  • Download ’em. (Lightroom)
  • Root through and, with an open mind, choose the frames that seem like they might be useful.
  • Turn those ones into TIFFs.
  • Do a bit of post production on those. (Photoshop)
  • Slap ’em into a folder called SELECTS.
  • Every time I add new images I open the folder and choose 6 or 8 or 11 or something images, open them and move ’em around my desktop.
  • Look for pairs or groups that seem to work together. Or maybe show me relationships, however tenuous, that, for lack of a better word, speak to me.
  • If I’m lucky I think I maybe see something there. A word pops into my head that, in an abstract way, seems like a key or a clue, or something.
  • Think I might be getting somewhere.
  • Change my mind about that whole “maybe I’m getting somewhere” thing.
  • Repeat.

But there has been progress over the 11 weeks I’ve been working on this. Some of the words that pop into my head, well . . . they stick, they show me possibilities and a way forward. Some of the image combinations make a certain kind of sense to me.

Right now I’m sort of pretty sure I want there to be a dreamlike discord to the work, more open-ended than anything I’ve done for a long time. A series of disparate images that are stuck tentatively together by their own gravity while simultaneously being pulled apart by dark energy. The whole sequence rotating around its own internal logic.

And the word I keep thinking of is desire.

Finally, in closing (and because I am reading it now) I leave you with the first sentence from Samuel Beckett’s novel, Murphy (pub. 1938) .

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

Okay then. Back in September . . . . . . . . .