Thursday, January 31, 2008

Digital to Easy?

Spent the night in the dark breathing in chemicals and awash in D-76 and fixer. The thought occurred to me that digital might be TO EASY. People often say to me " Why do you still use film? digital is so much easier! Why do you work in the darkroom? photoshop and printers are easier they are faster and cleaner!"

I have been thinking of the whole easy thing. If you are able to make photographs easy is that a good or bad thing? Should you not have to pay your dues, to work through tough and difficult darkroom sessions, should you not be forced to re-shoot missed photographs. Is it not important to learn from these difficulties? to overcome them and then grow as an artist as a result.

If things are to easy and to fast and to simple, have you not lost an opportunity to follow in a more traditional path and grow because of it?

It is sort of like the rich boy who is handed everything and the poor boy who has to earn it on his own. Who in the end will appreciate the journey more? Is not using the road less traveled the better way to go?

The discipline required to do some thing the hard way teaches us valuable lessons that we miss out when we go the easy route.

Adobegraph Definition

An Adobegraph is a heavily manipulated image that for the most part was created in Adobe Photoshop (or other digital editing software) and not in a camera. Many times an Adobegraph will be a collage of several images masquerading as a decisive moment.

I feel that thou an Adobegraph is a work of art, and can be extremely beautiful and powerful it is not a photograph. It is not a photograph because the image was not created in a camera in a single decisive moment.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Overreacting a Tad for Motivational Purposes!

I find that sometimes to motivate myself I get a me versus them thing going on in my mind. When I get rejected from a gallery I fight back by thinking they are wrong, and I am going to prove that by making more photographs my way and getting a show some place else! The rejection becomes a burr in my saddle that spurs me on to make more work, my way.

I also tend to do this in my club groups. If I feel that my work is being mistreated or threatened I tend to use this as inspiration to make new work.

This overreacting might be a natural way that I continue to grow and challenge myself (or it could mean I am a JERK!, lets go with the growing artist thingy, it sounds better). Sometimes it might annoy people I am around when I overreact but I believe the end justifies the means in this case!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mr. Gerry Yaum

Gerry Yaum is a pseudonym; I wanted to have an alternative name because I felt my real name was unimportant. I prefer to be invisible and let the work be credited to this non existent person, the work is what matters not me. I hope the photographs can be seen and understood, I hope they can help lead to positive change, most importantly I hope the people I photograph will be remembered but the guy who takes the photos is unimportant so let’s call him Gerry Yaum.

Great Photographer ?

Had a friend say to me one time "I will never be a great photographer"

I think this statement sort of misses the point at least as I see it. The point is not about you but should instead be about the photograph. The reason to do photography as I see it is to make great photographs. You make photographs to create lasting, important images. It is not about the photographer it's all about the photograph, that is all that matters.

The goal is not to be a great photographer, the goal is to make GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS.

The Work is What Matters Most

The work that we create is the most important thing, we need to constantly be working at making the photographs we feel are important. If you spend a lifetime making photographs and those photographs are forgotten, that is sad. If you spend a lifetime making photographs and they are shown and then forgotten, that is also sad. The goal I think is to make a lifetime of photographs that are important and lasting. If those photographs are discovered before or after you die is of little importance.

We all want our work seen in our lifetime but if that does not happen should we give up? Should we stop making photographs? Of course not! We need to keep creating, the creation of new personal work should be the goal, not acceptance by others.

Is Eugene Atget work any less powerful now because the images were not recognized in his lifetime? No!!!!

Artistic Freedom and Peer Pressure to Conform

I have had a number of email debates with friends over the years regarding freedom of artistic expression and the importance of getting a show.

If your being asked to join a group in a submission process to a gallery there is naturally a certain amount of give and take as to what work should be included by each member, everyone needs to be flexible to a degree. I think thou that a line is crossed if you are asked to compromise your artistic integrity to conform to the groups theme, it is a form of control/peer pressure I have often fought against. To many the end justifies the means but at what cost? If you sell out and make photographs that fit a certain theme, but those photographs do not represent your heart, your selling out. You’re saying that having a show is more important that what I show. I believe it is more important to be true to your heart, to follow your own instincts and not sacrifice your artistic freedom to get a gallery to show your work. If your good enough and work hard enough the shows will come in due time and on YOUR TERMS.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Definition of a TRUE Art Gallery

I recently had a disagreement with a photo club member in regards to the definition of what a true art gallery was.

The McMullen Gallery has as one of their criteria for submission the following requirement.

"work needs to be sensitive in content to the needs of hospital patients and their families who make up 50% of the McMullen's attendance -- "

Since emails led to a confused response I thought I would clarify my feelings in this little blog entry.

Art to me is all about freedom, it is freedom of expression and thought, it is challenging others to see things in new and exciting ways, it is communicating a message without expressive restrictions. The idea that you have to conform to THE NEEDS OF THE HOSPITAL PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILES seems to me like a complete sell out. It is a form of censorship a form of control that the artist should not be held down by. An artist should have the freedom to show work that does NOT conform that does ask and force questions from its viewer. When you create work that conforms to the needs of the patients and their families what you are really doing is compromising your work. The artist and the viewer (even hospital veiwers) are both hurt when art is reduced to something that conforms and does not take chances. We should not let galleries dictate to us what we SHOULD SHOW.

I believe because of the requirements of the McMullen Gallery it is not really a TRUE art gallery but instead a place where patients and distraught families can go and relax, the requirement for McMullen art is that it soothes and sedates, sort of like taking a valium.

Is that the reason for Art? to be a Sedative? Not in my opinion.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Photo Thoughts

1. 4x5 Razzle with flash at night on the street or in daytime with a mixture of daylight and flash. Shot on Tri-x or color transparency, print the b/w on fiber and the color on ilfordchrome or scan it and print digitally.
2. 8x10 with a mixture of flash and daylight in the field.
3. 8x10 on white backgrounds in studio.
4. 6x6 twin reflex with flash and color film. Square format headshots printed on Kodak metallic paper.

My Yellow Camera

Well ordered my Razalle camera today. I decided to have some fun with the camera and make it YELLOW. I had quite a few leatherettes to choose from, partly for fun and partly because I will be photographing in Thailand, I chose Yellow. The gold/yellow colors are connected in the minds of Thai people to Buddhism and the royal family; both institutions are highly respected in Thailand. I wanted to show my respect for these institutions as well as the Thai people so choosing this color for my camera seemed the way to go. Who knows it might even bring me some good luck. I hope I can create images that are important and lasting with this new piece of equipment, images that pay the proper respect to the people photographed. It would be such a gift to be able to use this camera to capture the images that are always dancing around in my minds eye. To finally get some of those elusive visuals onto film is important.

Here’s hoping I can use this camera to capture those images and move others to help create positive change.