Sunday, January 3, 2016

Things—only marginally connected and of only personal value… from 2015

I just finished my ‘journal’ for 2015. As most know it is not really a journal in the sense of a written account—it is a collection of photographs done during the year. From 2007 through 2012 I did a journal every quarter but I decided that was an extravagance I couldn’t afford and didn’t really need. I started 2013. Had the first quarter’s journal ready to go to Blurb but never sent it. I skipped 2014 completely.

This past year, I decided to do a one year long journal. That would be less expensive and might weed out some of the work that I probably should not have shown anyway.  A little tweaking and a new portrait, which Alcy has promised to do, and it will be ready for publication. It is around 240 pages and somewhere between 300 and 400 photographs.

I, of course, probably wrote more about the photographs than I should have even though it is far short of what I normally do. I have no idea whether anyone is ever interested in why I take photographs or why I photograph what I do or process them the way I do—but I put it out there anyway. Which brings up why I am bringing this up.

I was writing a blurb to put with the last photograph about rose colored glasses and I got to wondering how many of my photographer friends ever question why they take photographs, why they photograph what they do and why they process them the way they do. See, I ask myself that question dozens of times a day. Unfortunately I am constantly writing about these ‘whys’ and boring everyone to death, I’m sure. But I do not understand any other reason for taking photographs. I would have given up photography sixty years ago if the only reason for taking pictures was to ‘capture’ beauty. My world just ain’t that beautiful I guess.. Beauty is wonderful, but the capturing of beauty has already been done and done much better than I would ever be able to do it—I just need something more from photography.

I mentioned a poem to a friend today that related to a photograph that she had taken. The response I received was encouraging, heartwarming and very greatly appreciated. I frequently talk about photography being a visual language. I personally believe that photography is more akin to poetry than it is to painting. Won’t bore you with that theory all over again. You’re welcome.

I take two types of photographs: those that are not worth crap and those that resonate. It is often difficult for other people to tell the two apart. But I know which is which. The ones that resonate contain something of importance, of value to me. It may or may not be the subject matter. Maybe it is only a memory or it could be a line from a poem. After all, a dead fish in itself doesn’t mean much as a dead fish but it can have considerable meaning as a metaphor.

I use photography to explore, me, life, my beliefs, death—who I am and what I am and why I am. All favorite subjects of the poets. Am I foolish enough to believe that my photography is poetic—not at all? But then again, there are times when my photographs resonate. Then, and maybe only then, I am happy.

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