A local high school student has done me the great honor of asking that I mentor her through the creation of her senior class exhibit on photography. When we met yesterday, I talked with her about developing her style. I told her to think of each piece as a conversation between herself and the viewer. What does she have to say? Then of course that got me to thinking more about my conversations both with other artists and with those who take the time to study my own work.
Having been an artist all my life, others seem to find it fascinating that I don’t really have very much of my own work in my home. Early on, my labors of love, usually paintings, were given as gifts. Later, I began selling my sculptures through galleries. Now with photography, I have the ability to print as many copies of an image as I wish but I still don’t hang many of them at home. For me, if each piece of artwork elicits a conversation and I fill my space with my own work then I am just talking to myself. I much prefer to surround myself with the magnificent creations of others.
When it comes to art, it seems that most people gravitate towards a particular genre. What is it that draws us in? Can we even articulate the feelings which come over us? Art is not always beautiful. Sometimes it’s ugly and shocking. Does it make you stop and think?
Consider the work of Diane Arbus and Mary Ellen Mark with their compelling images of people on the fringes of society. If you haven’t yet, please discover the work of Robert Knoth and his powerful photographs capturing the devastation of conflict and the dark side of globalization. I’m sure you’ve seen, even if you weren’t aware, the industrial photographs of Margaret Bourke-White or her stunning, sometimes shocking photojournalism shots which were the cornerstone of Life Magazine. Some of the observations of the human condition captured in the photos of Dorothea Lange are instantly recognizable. Today we also have the ‘in your face’ type of work created by Lauren Greenfield as her criticism of societal body image.
When it comes to Landscape photography, most everyone will think immediately of Ansel Adams but what about Charlie Waite? I love the urban landscapes of Luca Campigotto and the otherworldly images of David Burdeny. Have you seen the amazing Impressionistic images of Colin Campbell and Eva Polak? If not, do yourself a favor and look them up.
Another very famous name in photography is Richard Avedon. While I do love his fashion work, I really prefer what he called reportage photographs. “There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” ~ Richard Avedon. Do you agree with him?
In today’s world of fast-paced sensory bombardment, it’s all too common to breeze past art. We skim images and make snap decisions about them without ever questioning anything more than whether or not we instantly ‘like’ them. I encourage you to slow down, breathe deeply and study art. Ask yourself what the artist was trying to say. What emotions are evoked when you really spend time with a piece? Are there any memories recalled as you stare at an image? Does a photo reveal your deepest hope or dream? As you really begin to appreciate an image, you may discover more about yourself than you do the actual work of art. Below is a collection of my own images to get you started. Take your time and have a conversation with me.
Please share your thoughts with me. If you would like to see any particular images in a larger format, please comment here or on Facebook and I’ll happily upload it for you.
Now are any of the photographers I mentioned new to you? If so, please take the time to look them up. I think you’ll be in for some surprises.
As always, I appreciate the time you spend with me. Thanks for following my work.