Thursday, October 27, 2016

Maybe getting back in the groove...

There is much I would like to write. I have been doing photography once again. It started rough but the last couple of shoots have been encouraging. The biggest events have been the two Portfolio Reviews, one at NWHPC and one with the Katy group.

I showed, Observations and Reflections, photos from a shoot at Via Colori last year. I had planned on doing Small Manifestations, photographs I have taken in the last year or two in cemeteries. I am fascinated with the artifacts left behind at grave sites. But in the process of getting the images together I saw something I had overlooked in the Via Colori folder. I realized that I had taken a lot of images where I included an artist drawing a human face or figure. It was a cold rainy day and all were wearing hoodies, mostly black. In all the images the artist was very secondary to the drawn image and the image seem more alive and seemed to be observing the artist or the spectators viewing the artist working. I immediately knew that was going to be my portfolio. I am pleased because it got very good reviews.

I planned on using the same portfolio at Katy. However, I knew one of the reviewers at NWHPC would also be there so I was looking for a different portfolio for him to review. This is where it gets a little tricky.

Over ten years ago I was doing a lot of photo manipulation using different software, different approaches and techniques. Well, I have a portfolio that I titled The Locus of the Last Lost Souls. It was a very dark time in my life and I was having horrific nightmares almost nightly. I love my nightmares. I find them fascinating. Many times after waking from a nightmare I would lie there partially awake, partially asleep, for what seemed like hours going over the details and attempting to rewrite it to a more favorable conclusion. I seldom have nightmares anymore. Scarcely can even remember if I dreamed.

The Locus was basically about my nightmares. I would layer images, using only the parts of each that I wanted. I would then manipulate the images, the colors, whatever I felt was needed then I would draw over the images freehand with a mouse. The lack of precision gave the images a very crude appearance. Some came out very good, some not so good. In all there were about thirty images. Of that I only have eight left and those only because I printed them out. The rest of the series is gone. The software would only write very small files and almost all of the images I used were scarfed from the Internet because I was not able to go out and shoot what was needed. Some, because I needed nudes, came from porn sites. I had written a few lines to go with each of the images. This was a time when I was doing a lot of very personal writing—examine my life, my fears, the world. I wrote short stories that were fictionalized from my life experiences—not stuff to be showing anybody, but just getting it down on paper because when it is on paper I seem to understand it better.

I shared a few of the images with a friend I met on the Internet who was teaching creative writing at Tarrant County College. Robbie was always encouraging but the images were very private so I had not shown the images again until the last few days when I was thinking about using them at Katy. Everyone seemed to like them and seemed to be able to overlook the fact that they were a little perverted.

In looking back I did frame them and hung them at the studio for one of the open house events. They didn’t get any comments. I felt safe there because studios are a little weird anyway.

Anyway, I took them, but I also took Via Colori—I used Via Colori except for the one reviewer, Rudy Hernandez. My last reviewer was the director of the museum at Katy. Anna always intimidates me so I am greatly surprised that I had the nerve to pull them out and ask her opinion.

She read through my statement several times then asked me to spread the photographs out on the floor. I did. She walked back and forth viewing the photographs and then sit down on the floor and carefully read and studied the images. She asked lots of questions and we discussed how the images being procured from the Internet prevented them from hanging in a show or being sold. I understood that and was fine with it because neither was my intention. Then she said something that thank goodness I was in a public place, otherwise I would have broken down. She said, “ I’m surprised I didn’t know this. You are not a photographer. You are a poet.” She encouraged me to start again with my own images. Wow. If I never ever get another review I am happy.

I am not likely to redo The Locus because my life has changed. I am not sure I can make contact with that darkness again and I will have to find something else to do. Thank you Anna.

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