Thursday, October 6, 2016

Portfolio Review 2016

The world has moved in strange directions lately. Little photography accomplished, a planned trip to photograph the plantation homes along the Cane River in Louisiana got canceled. But life is good, actually much better but that is a another very long story.

Tomorrow night is Northwest Houston Photo Clubs annual Portfolio Review. Participating members will have their portfolios reviewed by members of the professional photographic community. It is always a great learning experience.

What follows is my artist statement and photos being submitted this year.

Observation and Reflection
I have been involved in photography for over half a century. When I was first exposed to the idea that photographs had the ability to reveal my subconscious, I almost gave it up. For a very long time I resorted to what I believe a lot of photographers do when they become aware that they are showing themselves in their photographs, hiding in safe zones of technique and mimicry. That held little enjoyment so I decided to do photography my way because frankly few would understand that the photographs were about me and not the subject matter.

Art creates an interaction between the artist and the subject matter as well as between the viewer and the created artwork. These photographs, taken during Houston’s Via Color, suggest a third type of interaction, that between the subject matter of the artwork—in this case, an inanimate, emotionally devoid figure drawn in chalk on course concrete—with the artist, the viewer or an adjacent work.

In these photographs, the subject matter, the inanimate figures, are more alive than either the artist or the photographer observing the artist working. They become metaphorically a mirror reflecting back my observations of my world at that point in time. 

                                        Gary Woodard 2016

Jeeze I wish someone would develop a blog site that would work for photos. This is a real struggle and one of the images is not here. Anyway...

I am a firm believer in letting the subconscious do it's thing within your photography. Yes I know that is a throwback to the Seventies but that's okay. The vast majority of my photography that I enjoy comes from that viewpoint. This portfolio was not planned. I simply examined the photographs that I had taken that day and 'discovered' a theme that at the time of the shoot I was not aware I was in anyway consciously perusing. I almost always take such a discovery as being of some importance. You might think of that as the opposite of previsualization. I don't see it that way. I see it more as letting something not totally under my control influence the photographs that I take. It is not random shooting; the shots were planned, seen at the time but I was not aware of how I was seeing the resulting images until after the fact. I was not aware that I was taking so many photograph in such a similar way. I take that as being of some importance to me even if I may not at the present fully understand what that importance is.

I processed the images to put the emphasis on the inanimate figures, downplaying the artist. The day was cold and many of the artists were wearing dark hoodies or coats. That made it very easy to place the emphasis on the figures. As many photographers have written, including the revered Ancel Adams, every photograph is about the photographer as well as te subject matter. That is what I see happening with these images.

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