Sunday, December 28, 2008
(January 11 I'm having my first photography show, at St. Gregory's in San Francisco. One of the things I have to do is write an artist's statement. This is the draft I've submitted to Paul Mahder, my curator and friend.)
I live in San Leandro with a strong-willed calico cat, too many books I rarely read any more, and almost 9000 pictures on my hard drive. I wore out my first good camera in the 1970s, took pictures at a fledgling country club in the early 1980s, and then money (the lack thereof) and life diverted my attention from photography.
July 2006 I was gifted with a Nikon digital point-and-shoot, and I had the feeling that I had come home. As good as the intervening years had been—writing and editing, painting and making collages (though making collages was sweet indeed)—I had the sense that this was what I was meant to do. The hard work felt easy and exercising my eye rejuvenated my soul. In a very real sense I came back to life.
January 2008 I was gifted with a Nikon digital single lens reflex that I carry with me almost everywhere. I take pictures of everything that crosses my vision—at a height of 44 inches, my height sitting in a chair. I am particularly fond of the homely detail, the ironic (or iconic) inconsistency, the wear and tear of urban life I can see and reach from the sidewalk or through the window of a Paratransit bus.
Throughout I try to shoot with a “benign eye” that reveals the beauty in what may not be conventionally pretty or generally noticed. Formal values—color and composition—are crucial, though I’ve never met a rule I’m unwilling to challenge. My earliest visual mentors were the Northern Renaissance painters who held everything they saw in the same pristine clarity, which I take to be a kind of love.
Note: "3808" and "Wild Bunch" appear on my photostream at Flickr.com.
Old rock and roll is one of my best teachers. “To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him—and I do.” The kind of photography I do is often a contemplation. “To see, see, see it is to know, know, know it,” which often brings something very like love in its wake and can unleash a surge of gratitude where the world is seen to be “charged with the glory of God’s grandeur, like shining from shook foil, like the ooze of oil,” as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins knew so well.
Note: "Shrink-Wrap" and "Shrink-Wrap, Take Two" appear in my photostream at Flickr.com on November 18, 2008.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"International acclaim" may be putting it a bit strongly--but when an Italian psychotherapist on Flickr asked if she could use some of my pictures on her own blog, it got me thinking. She doesn't go on and on; instead, there is a photograph and a brief passage of text. She makes me wish I read Italian, which I don't.
Today she used this photograph. I call it "Floating"; she calls it "Musica," which lets me find something new in it. http://www.pagineblupsicologia.eu/monica.anoja/
Maybe I'll try brevity and see if I can recover the soul of wit--or at least my writer's voice.
"Floating" can be found on my Flickr photostream on October 31, 2008.