Dec 27, 2011

Poetic Collaboration - Day 6

Shooting in my industrial LA neighborhood and beyond into Vernon's old-world charm.

I'm really getting into blurry. And for once photography is saving me money—no need for new contact lenses.

Dec 22, 2011

Poetic Collaboration - Day 2

This 10-day rush is getting me back to a more familiar way of making photographs, namely as an accompaniment to daily life. That’s how I used to shoot, taking my camera with me and capturing whatever struck my eye. It took a focused effort for sure, but it was “easy” for me. Perhaps too easy, as I thought it had to be harder. Given my puritanical work ethic and insecurity about not having an MFA I naturally took to an approach that was both more commonplace in the art world as well as personally more difficult, namely shooting in series such at horizon or complementary colors. That approach creates a nicely packaged body of work designed for marketing to the art establishment. Sounds grand but it’s not how I think.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly useful to push a concept, to try wacky new ways to communicate an idea in a way that's fresh and visually compelling. But there are a multitude of ways to skin that cat.  I'm more drawn to William Eggleston way of creating a series of photographs with an aesthetic and emotional coherence that varies widely in subject matter. I think that’s actually a more difficult thing to do, to tie together pictures of tricycles, gas stations and light fixtures into a cohesive whole, but it also makes for a body of work that’s more layered and open to broader interpretation. 

I’m trying to let go of the need for a nicely packaged end product and just to enjoy the process of shooting. There’s magic in just picking up the camera, that’s the only expectation I’m holding, at least for at least the next 8 days. 

Dec 21, 2011

Poetic Collaboration - Day 1

I started a ten-day creative collaboration with two amazing poets yesterday - Maureen Alsop and Joshua Gottlieb-Miller. I live in LA, Maureen lives in Palm Springs and I don’t even know where Josh lives, I’ve only met him online through Maureen. Thanks to my days as a software product manager I’m used to working collaboratively with people who are geographically remote, communicating and working from the Bay Area with teams in NYC, Cincinnati, Minsk and Melbourne. I’ve always been intrigued with the potential of doing similar with art and this will be my second time. The first was with Orly Aviv who lives in London and did a lovely worldwide collaborative video project called Sea of Seas.

My premise with Josh and Maureen is simple. From Dec 20-30 I’ll be taking photos and posting them here as inspiration for them to write poetry. They’ll be writing either as a response to my photos or on their own and sending them to me as inspiration for me to shoot in response. It’s more interactive than the Sea of Seas, reminds me of improvisational jazz. We don’t know where it’s going to go beyond these posts but have thought about a self-published book and an audio-visual installation.

Bottom line, I’m excited about the process and am using it as a way to overcome a limitation in my creative process, namely excessive attachment to the outcome. What do they say? “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Dec 8, 2011

Dec 7

A few iPhone shots from last night. I was helping my friend Amy Brownson install one of her amazing flower mannequin in the window of the Eastern Building, downtown LA.

Dec 7, 2011

Set to Infinity

Sounds like something Buzz Lightyear would say but actually it's where I've had my lens focused recently. Autofocus is overrated, sharp photos are too. Turn your focus to infinity and embrace fuzzy! The blur is mysterious and suggestive all at the same time. It lets your mind fill in the gaps and leaves room for possibility.

I'm especially intrigued with how blurry portraits obscure the details of our face but still offer an unmistakeable impression of a person. It's a good match for how my memory works. Rarely do I remember specific features on a person's face or the exact shape of their nose or angle of their eyebrows. What remains in my mind's eye is similar to this blur, an visual that's unique but not exact, and glowing with life.

For the multitudes of you out there who are reading this and know me, can you tell that the top photo is me?