I wonder. Will you read this post through to the end? Will you skim it in a few seconds? Or dismiss it outright?
I have a friend who's an ex-advertising guy. I can hear him now, answering the question about whether people actually read a blog or do they just skim it? And he's saying, "Get in, get it done and get out."
I wonder. At any rate, the story is the message. Is this post photo related? Well, yes, but you could be doing anything creative in front of a computer. Artistic? Well, again yes, in some ways. There's lots of decisions to make; editing choices, color, tonality, vibrance, size, sharpness, paper choice, which to make a print of, on and on. Meditative? Yes, it can be in that you do get into a groove when working this way.
What the hell is Neal talking about? Well, I am simply referencing where I am right now and sharing with you the experience of being in a place where I am doing a whole lot of printing, day after day, in fact. This is the production part of being a professional artist. The time when you make the work. No more initial ideas, no more: go back there to complete this one thing. Partly painful, partly joyful, this step is when ideas turn into reality, where inspiration meets the road.
Here it is mid afternoon, cold and raw outside, the last day of March as I write this, working on files at home, taking a break to make tea:
and then going back to work. It is very simple, as many things truly are. Not seeing the simplicity in things can deny their inherent worth and needlessly complicate a world with way too much going on all the time anyway.
No phone, some music low in the background, no real distractions; not even the shade on the window I sit in front of is open. Just me and the stuff I shot last week or last month. Remembering coming around the corner, the turning down into the valley, stopping, getting out with the wind on my face, the smell of the air and the complete absorption in "is that a picture or not a picture?" God! What a long time I've been asking that question and making that decision! On the other hand, what a privilege to be able to ask it throughout a whole lifetime.
At any rate. It is good. It is actually really really good. Much better than before. Before was having to conform to a schedule to teach a class, endless meetings to sit in and deadlines to meet that were mostly useless BS.
There are issues, of course. There are the wrong paths that I follow, then retrace my steps to begin again later when I've discovered my wrong way. That happened to me at the Salt Point Park in California last month photographing the rock formations called Taffoni.
The first cove I parked at I hiked down to the shore, pretty far and pretty steep, only to find when I got to the shore, it wasn't right. All the way back up, in the car, I drove to next cove and that one was the right one. Another one, perhaps more internal than the above example: there is the danger of attributing significance into what does not have it. This is where "over wrought" comes into play. I've been guilty of this before. I wonder if you have. It's easy. Work hard on something and you're bound to attribute it to some major revelation, epiphany or "the heavens opening up". I know I have. Does it always work out that way? Does it have significance and substance just because you think it should? Not so much. Makes me think those artists that say we only have a few really good pieces inside us are probably right.
At any rate, it is back to work. There is boredom too, of course. Doing the same thing over and over can build complacency. The editing is brutal. Editing is certainly one of our toughest steps. We make so many pictures now so easily. Click click click at no cost, except that we pay when it is time to choose which one to print. This one? No, is it this one? I am working on a few posts concerning this very big topic and will share my experiences in editing, both the way I worked in analog days and also now how I work in digital. Hopefully, you will find it helpful.