Soft morning hair, soft sister’s shirt, soft white light #film
Creative identity thoughts.
Anna Moon (aka @yanpalmer) is hosting a workshop this October in Provo and I’m going to try my darndest to be there (go check out the link her bio right now!) In her IG live discussing some of the content, one of the things she mentioned stuck out to me: pursuing a goal with the end of b e i n g i m p o r t a n t. More: being SEEN as important. However clear or hazy, that end goal operates within me at times as I plan my next steps as a photographer. Like, “yah I’ll do x and y and z and then — then!!! the crowd will go wild! That will be so good!” Whether thats a number of followers or interested spectators at some type of show (ask my subconscious) I’m not sure, but I’m attracted to the feeling I imagine having in that moment. Whatever I’ve brought to show and tell is the shit and everyone knows it. My plans should chase that feeling.
WRONG. What a distraction, no? What would happen to the work if importance was not centered? If we as creators could channel what we’re called to without respect for praise. Do I even want to have a large reach? We’ve all heard of the creative difficulty that often follows publicity, right? Are these the best days right now? Some questions I’m asking myself as I move into the work with seriousness. I had tabled it, you know. Accepted the sequential model: babies-first-then-talent-later. I even called myself a homemaker once with a straight face when someone asked me what I did for work (nothing wrong with being a proud exclusive homemaker, shout out/mad love). But how my psyche coiled within me in that moment, turned on me, hissed. Because I had betrayed the thing. The thing that is indistinguishable from me; not a part or a piece or a side but the me, the center of the center. Making things that eyes may never see.
My dad in the river. I have an entire short story to write about this moment (and his whole visit) but not today. As I drove him to the airport this afternoon we talked about parenting (after I lost our parking token in the shuffle to buckle the girls) and he said one of his profound Daddyisms: “Kids. It’s no damn easy!” #polaroid
The house is quiet... for now. And the fire in my mind that’s been out-but-still-hot gives a small spark again. I am growing as a person who can’t stop — simply can’t stop — getting behind this light box machine, otherwise known as a photographer. I stand behind my camera and feel alive. Ah, to perceive being! More on this later. But the process afterward is choppier. I grow in disenchantment (bordering on contempt) for the image as I continue to fall head first for the photograph. What does that mean?
For a long time it has meant the physical form: never considering myself done till the rectangle is held in my hands. And that has been wonderful! Hence the boxes. Oh the boxes and boxes. But what about this digital space? How to be a photographer when the drive to have your photo seen by human eyes is granted, a given. Kinda like when music became free. What now? Where to focus? My answer for today: the joy of the work. Attention to detail from start to finish. Respect for form. Learning and chronicling that learning here.
I’m at a crossroads — wondering how to move forward as I drag the anvils chained to my feet: the bane of digital sharing’s limitations. And photography through the for hire lens where sharing = marketing. Put another way: all of this, to what end? I’m hovering over the forms that photographers have traditionally used: the photo book and the gallery show. Hovering with my anvils (don’t hold my mixed metaphors against me okay?) What say you? How have you charted your course as a film photographer in 2018? I’m interested, talk to me world.
Pictured: stormiest lady in the land standing in the Verde River, watching a giant inflatable swan float by. Taken with my new lover the Canon Sure Shot on Ilford HP5. #filmforever
How did the photographer of fifty years ago share her work? Gallery shows? Photo books? Slide film projected on wallpaper in the living room while her babies slept? I have wondered about the shoot-then-share continuum. If it allows or disallows quality to emerge. The form is free; without quality control! Unlike the pressure of a show or a book. No answers here, only a notebook full of questions I’ll write three times each because I’ll forget that I’ve covered them already. Anxiety’d them to death already. I’m interested in pursuing new forms — some ways of sharing that bring a built in standard. Because millennial blood runs through these veins I will never abandon this space (it started with LiveJournal and it ain’t gonna end with IG). But I want to give you more than an image. A short or long walk are forms that interest me. So I’ve created Story Essays, small mini-blogs where I go through a door and invite you to look through the peephole. First story, identity / change, live in stories now. #friggenfilm
Cousin on polaroid. #childhoodonfilm has 100+ tags and the delight and illumination from these artists work is just what the doctor ordered. To select and curate from these images, to dig into their process and wrap words around the work that moves me is filling a deep need. I hope to expand (website? podcast?) as the months roll on.
For me, making progress on the motherhood & work question allowed for @childhoodonfilm to happen. When I turned 30 in May I took a serious look at the pie chart of my life and saw imbalance; slivers better suited for a different woman. I realized how I can never give my babies my all if all of me goes to them. It is not the calling of quote “stay at home” motherhood (worst phrase), but the hours! The exclusivity of mothering to the exception of any other serious pursuit. Not merely outside interests (I have many, too many) but w o r k. Bringing to fruition in form. I see now how I can whole-heartedly mother them without mothering them 24/7.
It reminds me of moving out for the first time, when I realized I could put my dishes and broom and trash can wherever I wanted. I realized my mom had made a million micro-choices for our entire life and suddenly this freedom was mine. So I’m adjusting; trying things out. I looked at Matt the other night and said, “ten years later and I’m still me” with my arms up like it was out of my hands. I began my motherhood journey with the assumption that I would be able to not work — it only took years of trepidation and my first panic attack to now happily confess how wrong I was.
My favorite definition of talent isn’t just the intersection of interest & ability (which is a fantastic definition) but rather what you can’t not do. “Talent is irrepressible” — isn’t that a great line? Advice to my 19 year old self in that first apartment (that I painted YELLOW, ORANGE AND RED because I had just gotten back from Mexico): Curate your life around the immovable pieces; what has always been true of yourself. And for the love of God go easy with the primary colors. #creativelife