Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Table for One is Drawing to a Close

To the delight of most of my friends I'm sure, Table for One is wrapping up. I received my prints for Portfolio Challenge today—well at least the first run. I am going to meet with Michael Young to  narrow the nineteen that I had printed down to ten, or maybe twelve. Then I will do any brushing up that needs to be done and have them reprinted and mounted. I was thinking about not mounting them but it is necessary. They are just too difficult to handle otherwise. Besides that is the rule but you know me and rules. If it’s not my rule then I don’t pay much attention to it.

The idea of the Challenge is to present the photographs as though they were being presented to a gallery. I am never going to present any of my photographs to a gallery. These photographs will be published in a 12”x12” book, just as the photographs from last year’s Challenge. That is why I thought it would be better to present them as pages from a book rather than as photographs to hang. The image size is approximately 7”x10” centered on the 12”x12” sheet.

As always when I get prints back I think they are too dark but after living with them for a half hour I decide they are just about perfect. There are two that if they are in the final cut that I will lighten slightly before reprinting.

These are personal photographs. When you insist on doing something personal for Portfolio Challenge you really put yourself on the line. That is not easy. They are just photographs of coffee cups but will anyone have any idea what the photographs are about? Or does it even matter?

I doubt that anyone will have the slightest idea. I've been harping on "the photograph is not the subject (matter)" for three years without convincing a single person. There are coffee cups in the photographs (well coffee cups and other stuff you might find on a table in a restaurant) but the photographs are not about coffee cups. They are not even really about restaurants. Very often photographs are about what is not in the photograph.  

At a time like this I really miss Janet's support and encouragement. She always assured me that everything was fine and if it wasn't she fixed it before there was a problem. In thinking back to last year’s Challenge, even though she couldn’t express an opinion, she looked at the photographs. I believe I saw a look on her face that I had seen many times in the past forty years. It was her “Weird Woodard is at it again” look. For two people that were in such total agreement on so many things, we almost never agreed on photography—particularly on what to photograph.

The "project" may be drawing to a close but I doubt seriously that I will quit taking photographs on this theme just because Portfolio Challenge has come and gone. I may find a different subject matter but the theme will be the same. The SUBJECT will be the same! LOL


  1. Gary, I enjoyed seeing an overview of your Portfolio Project. Yes, I know how you are about rules and have even observed that sometimes you don't even obey your own!

    Everwhat (!) the subject of your portfolio comes through loud and clear and I know that it isn't about coffee cups or restaurants. I suspect that the darkness in many of your photographs also ties into your "subject" as well.

    It's interesting that a collection of virtually anything is always more interesting than any individual object within the collection. The repetition that is created by making these photographs into a portfolio collection (vs viewing them individually) causes a subject that might otherwise be missed to literally jump out at your viewer!

    And of course it goes without saying that they are technically excellent. So I look forward to hearing more from you after the challenge and hearing some of the feedback you receive. But keeping in mind that you probably know more about photography than all of the judges combined.

    Btw, I think I have seen that "weird Woodard is at it again" expression on Janet's face a few times!

  2. Jan, thanks for starting off my day with a smile. I decided a long time ago that I am not a single photo photographer. I really cannot get very interested unless there is a "project."

    Loved the part about not obeying my own rules--how true.

    Hope things are improving in your interesting journey. As you know I am not a traveler. Never could figure out why anyone would want to leave Texas. LOL

    Have a great day. And again, thanks!

  3. Gary, we've been asking ourselves that same question! HAHAHA