Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thailand Sex Worker Book

Been thinking more and more about the importance of having a strong subjective point of view in my work.

Robert Frank in his book "The Americans" has a clear subjective statement to make, he knows what he wants to say and made photographs that told the story he wanted to tell.

Philip Jones Griffiths book "Vietnam Inc." is another example of a photographer who had a clear defining subjective way of looking at things then he worked towards telling that story in photographs.

Being objective and neutral creates work that is so so grey, you need to have a strong point of view something that drives you to work your ass off to make the important photographs to go that extra mile when your tired out and want to rest.

I think back to Dorthea Lange wonderful photograph of the desperate mother in the tent with her children during the depression. Lange was tired, exhausted and worn down when she drove past but then turned back to make this iconic image. She had something to say and her exhaustion was no excuse not to tell that story.

You need to have a burr under your saddle, a driving subjective force in your heart and mind to propel you into making great photography.

I might try to do a definitive book on prostitution in Thailand, to show all aspects of that world from Western sex tourism to the local brothel world. The most important part of the book would have to be the workers, to show them with respect and honesty, to tell their story.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Looking in: Robert Frank's the Americans

Been studying a wonderful book called "Looking in: Robert Frank's the Americans". The book details the history and making of the very important photography book "The Americans" by Robert Frank.

Looking at the contact sheets that are reproduced is fascinating. There are times that 2 great famous images are on a single segment of 6 negs (1 of 6 cut segments from a roll of film) on the contact sheet. The man was really in the zone he knew exactly what he wanted to say and said it with an economy of film.

Frank also used a variety of films, Ilford, Kodak Plus-x, Tri-x, Super xx, along with several films I did not recognize.

What it really comes down to is the type of film does not matter, cameras do not matter (Frank just used one I believe with a so so lens) but what really matters is the photographers vision, Frank knew exactly what he wanted to say and he said it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quote: Horacio Salinas (Irving Penns former Assistant)

About Irving Penn.

"What I took away from working for him was that you have to have a strong vision of what you want to say — not just for the day but for your entire career.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quote: Henri Cartier-Bresson

His photographic credo

"Mind, eye and heart must be brought into line."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Film Film And More Film

Spent the week developing my 8x10 film from the last Sex Worker Series. I want to get all the work developed so I can choose the best negs to use in my group show for the VAAA in 2011. Ended up doing something like over 125 sheets in the Jobo. Many of the negs look so so but there are a few that I am quite excited to print. I have to complete developing all the film (around 300 left) then make contacts and make my final selection for the VAAA show. I will only have 8-10 photographs in the show unfortunately but I will choose the best that are available based on the submission that was accepted by the gallery.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Book: Tears Of A Butterfly

Been thinking of doing a hardcover book that would be self published. I want to have a book I can leave at the gallery so that the visitors can check out some of the work the gallery did not want to show. I would not make much money on any books sold but it would be a good way to get the photographs seen by a larger audience.

The idea would be to make something up of 100 to 200 pages with photographs dating back the last 25 years or so back to my time in Oakland when I was 21.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'd Rather Be Anonymous

Been thinking about Oct. 13, 2011 a lot over the last few days. On that date the group show will open at the VAAA. I have always wanted the work seen but have always been uncomfortable in being seen myself. One of the reasons I chose to use a pseudonym Gerry Yaum was because I just want to make the photos and not really be recognized for the work, the work is not about me it is about the people in the photographs, they are the story, they should be getting the acknowledgment not me. I have never had much of a problem with negative reactions, when people are negative I just get a bur under my saddle that eggs me forward but having someone praise the work has always made me feel uncomfortable.

I wish I could attend the show anonymously and just be a fly on the wall, I want to watch how people respond to the photographs I want to hear their comments but I do not want them to know who I am. I remember reading a story about Diane Arbus where she kind of hung around eves dropping on conversations at her New Documents show at MoMA. Diane wanted to hear what they said and know how they felt about what she had put up on the walls but she did not want the viewers to know who she was.

Maybe I can come a bit late and sort of sneak in and try to be one of the crowd, doubt that will work but it might be worth a try.