Monday, January 24, 2011

Probably The Best Pantry Photograph Ever

But possibly not. I mean I do really like it. How could I not? It's Beer. Ten gallons of really good (I hope) home-brewed beer with an ABV of about 16% between them. And an added bonus - it's sitting next to 20 lbs. of pasta (Bucatini, another fave).

Wait, where were we...Oh yeah, thinking about photographs.

Photographically, this isn't going to become one of the images I exhibit, though perhaps, in the right context it could impress some meaning on the viewer. I'm thinking that a powerful photograph should transcend it subject, should shed some light on it. It should "set the stage" (as a former professor of mine at Ohio State used to say) for some meaningful dialog with the viewer.

This is not that kind of image.

I find gratification in the image not for it's formal qualities, or because it reflects some profound meaning. Let's face it. An photographic image is subject bound. It can't escape this fact. But I should separate whats great about the image from what's in the picture.

So while my pantry has never looked so beautiful, this is not a product of my photographic skill. Just my love for beer and pasta.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Failure: The Opportunity

I've been teaching at the University level for many years. One of my mantras has always been that failure, for an artist, can be a good thing. Creativity can't exist without a struggle. One can't break new ground if the ground doesn't present an obstacle. If we end up just where we thought we would well, then, what have we really learned?

I'm not the first to notice this. There have been countless artist before me who have recognized that artistic creation is not just the product of moving from point A to B. It's more like swimming through a fog. I know I'm on my way to SOMETHING. What that SOMETHING is still a bit obscure...distorted...fuzzy.

Lately, however, I've noticed that parenting magazine are commenting on this as well - recognizing that a child can't grow without facing challenges, and more importantly, overcoming their initial failure with independent persistence. So, we are encouraged to step back and let the little one fail. Right. Sure. No problem. This is what I've been saying to my students all along.

In truth. It's pretty hard.