Feb 23, 2009

Expanding Horizons

I have to rant for a minute. This blog is not at all a "photography blog" like Amy Stein's or Jörg Colberg's. I'm not likely to talk about the latest photo show I attended or the hip work of some Jen Bekman protege. I find some element of inspiration in all that and appreciate reading about it...up to a point. But after a while it all gets so insular and elitest as to be sickening. I mean, get a life! Art is about ideas and if all we do is go around sniffing one another's butts, the end product comes out smelling the same.

My biggest challenge is to create compelling visuals about a topic that I find intriguing and important. Alec Soth once recommended (and not on his blog...) that photographers should imagine they are creating work for their own personal museum and that only they have the key. You hope that other people will get something meaningful from seeing it, but far more important is to make work that continues to draw you back, continues to offer ideas or pose questions each time you look at it. That's hard. That's rare.

Where do such ideas come from? I think they're more likely to come from doing something important in the world than in reading about the latest hot Chelsea show. Gaining visibility in the art world is definitely helped by networking and self-promotion, but I find it all so nauseauting. I'd rather spend my time expanding my personal horizons and figuring out how to share my discoveries frustrations questions and mysteries through compelling visuals. And that's another reason why I'm taking a month to learn about Shamanism, so I can incorporate some of that ancient wisdom into my own work and revisit some of the important questions it brings up.

OK, rant over.

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