So long have I keyed words into this cyber parchment. My ideas of prose I debate, weighing purpose and meaning, folly and just. What words rightfully belong in this place?
Lately, I’ve photographed little, but have viewed the works of others much. I was asked to attend a showing of a few AI photography teachers in a little gallery on lower King several weeks ago. Intrigued, I altered my driving path to take the photographic detour that awaited me twenty minutes away. My curiosity wanted to be indulged, to see these eyes that are training a new generation of shutter fiends.
First thought at the doorway entrance: “Pretentious. Indeed.”
Landscapes, posed shots, pluff mud in sepia. I scribbled notes into my small black notebook. A woman’s feet standing on spring lush grass, tethered hem on her pretty linen dress and a black camisole haphazardly tossed to the side. The POINT? All caps warranted, trust that my meaning of “POINT” is crucial. Not in the sense of “I don’t get it” but a defined existence of meaning. How does this reveal the nature of the faceless woman, this is POINT. I see a right and a left foot benign before me. If one were turned towards the other, perhaps slightly elevated, what discomfort or vulnerability lay within her. If pointed to each other, a silent language, a bit of gossip between her toes, what childish nostalgia befalls her. If both were on tips of toes, what in the sky has grasped her? But none of this is there. No awkward. No revelation of the self through her bodily extensions. No pungent colors. No POINT.
Pluff mud chronicled. A day a man spent self portraiting in a putrid smelling substance, the Earth’s excrement. I wondered. His plight? Hands squeezing mud, meditative stance while covered, at one point, tearing saran wrap off his face. I wanted texture, I wanted to feel what was two dimensional. I didn’t want it in sepia. This, I can say, I didn’t get. But, it was a change, it was a creative journey taken no matter the potential absurdity, and for that, I gave him silent applaud.
But what I found was a lack of adventure, an absence of questioning, of revelation, of an exploration in being no matter the subject at hand. Where was the creative trek? So much pretty that I felt compelled to gag.
And these are a few at the podium of classes, etching the tabula rasa minds and eyes of future photographers. I trembled.
But in the midst of my critiques I learn. My teacher of light cannot always be by my side to jostle my creative third eye. So, I must see the myriad of paths not suited for my passion, my goals. To teach myself lessons, to observe light, to realize what perspective could have enhanced a photo, what makes an image void of emotion, what could have made an image pungent, provocative, emotive and how I would have made it such.
Scribbling my notes, looking at framed images from several angles, I noticed not a person approached me. Too busy drinking champagne, networking, praising egos. OH, JUST HOW DO YOU DO IT?! Silently, I vowed if ever the day comes that I have a showing, let me notice the quiet eyes in the room. It is their thoughts and critiques I want to hear. I need no words to seduce an ego I desire to stay fragile and eternally questioning.
And I also came to better understand the underbelly of my intention. I want my images to invoke rage, tears, joy, laughter. I want the eye to quake at the sight whether in delight or fear. Photographs that remain a flat dimension but feel through multiple planes of existence to reach out towards someone. Pungent…it’s my new favorite word, it is these eyes’ purpose.