What better way to spend a Sunday morning than to listen to the birds chirping out the window (actually their blackbirds and they mostly squawk), enjoy the comforts of the little used formal living room furniture, and catch up on some photography blog reading that I have fallen way behind with. The problem with this? Well, I guess I subscribe to too many blogs that engage me intellectually about photography and art; I’m 2 hours into it and only cleared a couple hands full of posts (and comments). Then I have one of those the universe is talking to me moments and now I have to stop my reading and start my writing. The reason: a number of recent posts that delved into some deep thoughts on photography.
Displaying my photography is an area that I have spent probably way too much time thinking about over the years (much to the chagrin of my photography). How does one display their work? I recently shared my online archive with some members of a new photography group I joined. One of the comments was:
Maybe too many photographs? It all depends on what do you want to do. If you want to be your own stock agency, that’s a good thing to have a lot of photographs, but if the website is more of a showroom, to present your work, this number of photographs can be distracting. What I would like is a way to see your best photography, it will be an easy way to evaluate and enjoy your work.
The issue I had with this response was the whole “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” concept. With a small gallery of just my best work, inevitably what appeals to some won’t appeal to others. With a large collection of work that spans multiple areas of photography (yes, I’m a Gemini, I can’t just focus on one thing…) someone is able to explore my work, if they so desire. Not to mention the trap of that word: best. What constitutes best? My opinion of best? Another person’s opinion of best? The popular opinion of best? But, how do you strike a balance of everything and still have time left to shoot?
All of these issues and questions has caused me to think a lot about my photography over the years.
Unless you want to just blindly go through life snapping away pictures with a goal to get your photo collection into the Guinness Book of World Records for it’s sear size (a short lived record to be sure), all photographers eventually have to ask themselves what do I really want from my photography? If you come back with the answer of creating the largest collection possible then great, you’ve taken the first step of knowing thy photography. The truth is that there is no right answer that others can give you, you have to discover your own right answer. Sometimes that includes the duality or multiplicity of answers (see previous comment about Gemini). This isn’t a bad thing either as long you reach the second step of accepting thy photography. This acceptance allows you to let go of the internal fighting and focus on the producing. Just realize that for the circle to be complete you have to also realize that producing results in growth which changes thy photography.
Now, that the easy stuff is behind us we can focus on the fun stuff of how to show thy photography. Once I got serious about photography, I experimented with printing as well as online display. I realized that online provided greater accessibility to my work and was going to dictate heavily the future of photography, but the tools of the time lacked the controls and flexibility I desired (technology is my shtick so I can see past what’s available to what is possible). I had a vision of what I wanted, a balanced solution to all my photography needs. Since the realization of that vision, I have slowly been working to find or build the pieces I needed for this vision stuck in my head. Meanwhile, I just built an online archive using a service that was available (which ultimately helped to further define my vision).
This new site, was the first step in realizing that vision. And my patience will be tested with regards to how long it will take to make that vision a reality. This vision includes a single destination where I can talk about my photography and photography in general (check); an online archive of all my work for others to explore (if it becomes a stock archive, so be it); a set of portfolios of what I consider to be my favorite/best work; maybe even a portfolio of what the popular opinion is of my best work (wouldn’t that be an interesting gap analysis); and the ability to earn income from my work in order to help feed my photographic habit (this includes going full circle back to printing and being able to offer a few true limited edition fine art prints that are hand crafted by yours truly). Maybe then I’ll even be able to put together some printed Portfolios and hit the gallery circuit…or maybe not. Hey, if you’re going to have a vision, make it a grand vision!
I’m sure you’re wondering: have you been too focused on the before and after of photography and not been actually doing photography? Of course not! All this time, I have been still been shooting. The problem is finding the time and energy to spend more time behind the computer to process my images. (Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to long term exposure to the keyboard?). The backlog of images keeps building, as do the bills and other life stuff. Thus the need for a day job (which has me behind the computer) to pay the bills. Someday balance will be achieved and the backlog eliminated.
Now that I’ve give you enough seeds to engage your photographic intellect for the rest of the day and shared my vision for latoga photography, time to get to work on a few small pieces to make that vision a reality. Maybe even process a few photos…