2017 fades now, flowing seamlessly into a new round of seasons,
its scars and wounds still with us,
while 2018 grows ever nearer on the horizon of our hopes,
And we?, we watch and witness and grow ever older.
"Note to Myself"
Never be deliberately obscure.
Life is difficult enough!
Don't add to the confusion.
Mark Twain on "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" includes as a rule: Eschew surplusage. (I always find these two words delightfully droll.)
Thomas Jefferson; Never use two words when one will do.
Lots of agreement there, and I try to work that way too when I write. And many urge a similar practice for photographers: avoid including what is unnecessary in an image. My problem is that, even after 16 years of working day after day making images, I'm still often unsure just what is unnecessary! Oh well, still time to learn . . .?
Remember this from (probably) grade school?
"The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on." Carl Sandburg
Just when I'm feeling stale, no sense of where to turn next for images, at last I wake to fog, deep fog. So I go out and made a few images: perhaps not the best ones, but among them, but this one may help convey some of what I like so much about fog: mystery, vagueness, a feeling of "i think I see . . .", but then it (what?) eludes me.
Teju Cole on photography work: "Along the way, I felt the constant company of doubt: my lack of talent, my imposter's syndrome, my fear of boring others. Every once in a great while, there was finally a superb picture, but when I looked at it the following week, I would see that it actually wasn't very good: too obvious, too derivative. Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts."
Yep, I know the experience. I make an image, think it's "superb," and the morning after see that "it actually wasn't very good." I've been (re)-reading an excellent book, "Art&Fear" and one of the points the authors make is that at some point you just have to go on. Let it be what it will be . . .
"Low clouds and gray, cold and spitting snow . . .
the geese going over low all morning,
Their frantic cries leaving fill me with a quiet joy.
The world gets emptier, more barren, and I more alone.
Stillness, O stillness, this deep calm of autumn, this
relinquishing, giving in, gray turning toward winter,
sweet melancholy, welcoming, opening, acceptance,
receiving, this embrace of the quiet and the dark."
Alfred Stieglitz, an early twentieth century American photographer, once worked on what he called "equivalents." He experimented with abstraction in his photographs, finding inspiration in this work in clouds and the various forms they take. He claimed that his cloud images were equivalents of his emotional moods. Well, maybe. I often find their various shapes and structures fascinating in themselves.
Teju Cole: "There is no surrender of beauty, only an effort to find beauty by going past the typical and arriving at the common . . . Assemblages inhabit their own complexity and color. What I visit less often is what has been labeled beautiful ahead of time . . . I want to see things . . . for the underground channel of perception by which they are connected, the common semantics of used space. the shock of familiarity, the impossibility of exact repetition."