Friday, December 17, 2010

An artists struggle....a look inside.....

Putting together a presentation of a body of work, is giving me a challenge, but then I love a challenge.
So I looked up some thoughts on how a "Body of Work" is defined to help me begin to zero in on what I want to do. Here are three definitions I found:
  1. The entirety of the creative or academic output produced by a particular individual or unit
  2. The total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it) 
  3. A collection of developed and assembled works (usually by one artist) that represents an investigation or study.
So I am thinking out a photographer.....I do not strike out with intent to create a body of work as defined in point 3....(although I guess in some way that could be argued) least not with an intent to develop a "collection of developed and assembled works that represents an investigation or study". I do however create images that  attempt to "represent" what "vibes" for me in a place, subject or person usually with natural or ambient light. Whether its color, atmosphere, people, interesting objects or some creative abstract idea of a scene. I try to communicate what I "love" about what I see. Developing the image then takes on a whole new vision of what was captured raw in the camera and defines more of what "vibes" for me in my minds eye of, that scene, object, person or place. As a result of this process I feel  much like a opposed to a specialist, thinking in terms of contrast and when I go into my "Body of Work" using the definition in point 1. I am all over the board, at least that's how I see it. Much like my professional life in retail, as a "General Manager" with no specific specialty, such as an engineer or accountant. So driving into a Narrow, more defined "Body of Work" as in point 3 from the overall is presenting a challenge. I know what my work is not: it is not a social documentary, it is not an ecological statement, it is not wildlife driven, it is not studio work, it is not portrait what is it? Of all my work what would you like to see in a cohesive presentation that is representative and thoughtful? How would you cull out a theme or collection from my work or what "investigation of a subject matter" might you like to challenge me with? Now there is the generalist speaking, how do you see it, tell me what you think, then I add all that up to form a decision. I always believed the best ideas come from many...even though the final decision is singular.

The images here represent my struggle: Two were shot at the Second Chance Architectural Reclamation Warehouse a week ago using bracketed images, processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro. The railings were then further enhanced in Snapart2 using the watercolor filter and then processed in OnOne Photoframe to add some texture and vignetting to achieve my final Vision....The old andiron shot was also a bracketed image and processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro, and then in OnOne for some texture.

The other two images here, shot the same day as the Second Chance images above, and were shot using the Lensbaby with a star aperture  insert. I did not intend to shoot this, but the scene presented....a young father and son were feeding pigeons and seagulls in Fells Point. I changed my position to try and capture that, but as I got closer the birds took off. So the father and son walked down the promenade to the end and stood together gazing out at the harbor. That's when I made several shots of them interacting. The day was bright overcast with lots of hazy atmosphere and I enjoyed the way the light was shining on the water behind them and creating shadows on the walk. I saw this as a black and white image in the field when I was shooting, and when I processed them I chose to use Nik's Silver Efex pro and add a sepia tone.

Now that's just how all over the board I shoot? Lots of experimenting....but no consistent look, well at least that I can see, but it is always harder to see inside than it is to see help me out! Your thoughts are valued! I have til May to get it please share you thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen,

    Your thoughts reminded me of a post that I made on my blog a few weeks ago:

    I think the conundrum isn’t so much what the individual images (and therefore subjects) should be but rather what message do you want to deliver. Individual images aren’t the story, they are only a part of the story. Think about your favorite book and then take out a single chapter. While the chapter will give you a feel for the story it can’t give you the whole thing. And, without the chapter the story will probably fall apart. Each chapter adds a little more to the story but each is different in its own right. Just like individual chapters in a book that (i) introduce the characters, (ii) introduce the scene, (iii) describe the relationships between characters and the scene, etc. a photographic body of work doesn’t necessarily need to be just portraits, street, landscape, seascape, urban, etc. etc. It can contain elements of each, but like the chapters in a book there has to be something that ties all of the images together and arranges them in a logical way. To me, what ties a good story together establishes the mood and the arrangement becomes the story. For example, social documentary photographers use their images to tell stories that are their perception and experience of human relationships. Landscape photographers use their images to tell stories about their take on the world around them, whether it be the big blue skies with big green fields or the single, lone tree. What ties their images together is how the images express their feelings and experiences.

    Photographers take pictures of things that attract them and create images that reflect how they feel. But then I noticed that you are already saying this… “I try to communicate what I "love" about what I see…”. In other words, rather than looking at one subject matter to investigate or cull out from your collection, one option might be to put together a body of work that consists of images that you think will tell your story of what it is that attracts you to so many different subjects and select images that will help the viewer understand what it is that you see in the world around you.