"My work is so traditional."
Carpooling home from one of our Every-Other-Monday-Night photographers' gathering that's what I heard (with a sigh) from an esteemed and very talented colleague. I added "Yeah, and it's so good, too."
I think about this issue a lot -- I recently browsed though the huge list of entrants in this year's Critical Mass competition. Very few of them could be fairly described as "traditional" and most of that few referred to traditional process as opposed to traditional content. I also worry about this issue from time to time -- and then circle back to the notion that while I would like to get more shows in more prestigious gallery spaces, I am mostly in this for my own satisfaction.
I suppose that with the dominance of digital that I can claim "traditional" for my small silver prints from film negatives. For better and/or for worse I am also stuck in love for traditional content. At least for the work I want to do if now always the work that I want to look at.
This month's Print of the Month (or thereabouts) is about as traditional as you can get without backing all the way to the pictorial era. It is straight-ahead street photography that could date from 1932 as easily as 1982 and I'm ok with that. Well, maybe the clothing on the kids wouldn't look right for 1932.
A gallery owner who I respect a lot once told me that my street photography was very good and that he would be glad to show it if my name was Cartier-Bresson or if I was dead. That was a valuable piece of insight into where to "market" my work.
"Sometimes the Photograph Doesn't Spark a Memory"
Last month I wrote that the October Print of the Month (or thereabouts) didn't do so -- that I had no idea what was going on or why I was in Baltimore to see it going on.
A long-time friend, photographer, and colleague from my past incarnation as an engineer emailed to remind me that the two of us were in Baltimore for a technical conference at which we both presented papers. We likely were together (cameras at the ready) wandering about in a city strange to both of us when I took this photograph. But he has no idea what was going on either.
"I'm on a Portrait Kick"
And two months back I noted that I was trying to catch up on portraits. I'm putting together my 2018 desk calendar -- one photograph per week -- and have rounded up enough portraits to fill it. This will be, I believe, the 11th desk calendar I've had printed (that's a lot of photographs).
While looking for something else (the only way I seem to find anything) I found this quotation from the great Édouard Boubat about portraits:
"Where were you when I took this picture?
You were not an image but a living woman.
Your eyes are a mirror,
in which everything that is not you is reflected:
clouds, trees, birds, and me."
Maybe by next month I'll have a portrait portfolio ready for the website.