While I was in Maui, taking and processing 1900 photos, I had two
distinct (and, in fact, conflicting) epiphanies. The first was
that with some thought, planning, and work I could automate much
of my workflow.
The second epiphany was the real start of the revolution, and may
have been jiggled loose by the first. I think the mechanical
nature of automating my workflow (and having some time to dwell on
that fact) was the straw that broke the camel's back. I realized
that for some time I haven't been completely satisfied with much
of the fruits of my labor. Exploring that dissatisfaction led me
to an awakening.
Over the . . . nearly 20 (eep!) years that I've been taking and
developing my own photographs, I've become quite adept at the
technical aspects of creating a photograph[*]. Without that, granted, the clearest
vision in the world will be unrealized, but there's more to
photography than making a print.
My style (and it still feels weird to call it that) has been
firmly planted in what I've taken to calling a "photo-journalist"
mode — a near-neurotic attempt to capture "la scène
vraie" as closely and as accurately as I can. I had a better term
than "photo-journalistic" for it at some point (after rejecting
"hyper-real" since I am not worthy^Wevoking what Baudrillard (or
even my beloved Eco) was (and yet, there IS an element of that . .
. )), but I have lost it (much to my chagrin).
It is easy to see how I got there: my formative photographic
experiences were mostly spent getting lost in the perfect balance
of one Ansel Adams print or another. I ingested the Group f/64
Manifesto, and their "photography of the West." It nourished my
youthful exuberance and skepticism of all that had come before.
(end first cut. LJ'ers, if you want to take a break, you can come
back to the second cut)
( Collapse )
So where do I go from here? More inspiration, more practice, more
experimentation. To that end, I'm getting very excited
about the UCSC Extension Field Study I'm doing next week in Death
Valley. (Thanks, mom!) I'm really looking forward
to having four days in the wilderness to do nothing but think,
compose, shoot, and evaluate. Particularly, I want to spend a lot
of time working at night and more in the abstract realm (both
together and separately).
But as with any experimentation, I must be open to mistakes, they
often lead to the most profound breakthroughs. For those of you
subscribed to my Flickr stream, things are likely to get worse
before they get better...
And this is what happens when I don't post things, but let them
percolate for a year, and end up rolling up what should have been
3 or 4 different entries into a single entry. 1300 words. Yeesh.
If you read the whole thing, my hat is off to you.
EDIT: Screw it. I can't seem to make automatic
formatting do what I want. Time to beat it with a stick.