Martha's Vineyard. South Shore. Early spring 2019. Park car. Gear up. Walk out to beach. Turn left. Go down there a ways. Small stream, running from a spring back behind the dunes on the other side of Moshup Trail across the beach and down to the ocean. Classic. The fresh water turning orange and gold below its surface. A world in the sand and rocks. Sunlight reflecting in the ripples of the water. Stop and look, for a miracle is taking place in small scale at my feet.
What to do? Shoot it, again and again, and again.
Witness. It's all that is needed. Yes, there is a camera involved and yes, it is me standing there in bare feet reaching out and pointing the lens down, so simple really.
Try it all different ways.
Timeless. Not trendy or current. Not necessary to build that logic, that rational. I don't have to make a case for these as I am just a witness, a conduit to the miracle. These could be made 40 years ago, although God knows photography is almost a different language now. It is that good.
Just pictures. Of course, that's like saying a Mondrian is just lines or Keith Jarrett's solo piano at the Koln Concerts is just notes. Hey, not boasting. I did very little here.
Look: farther back than making "art", farther back in the frame of references like student or professional or accomplished or expert, farther back than motivation or reasoning, farther back than any logic or system you may have, there is this: do you need to make things, to create? Do you have a requirement to make work? Is that in you? Is making pictures the defining characteristic of your life?
All kinds of categories here. Hobby, pastime, pleasant activity, entertaining, pretty, decorative, passive, intense, driven, compelled, obsessive, aggressive, uncompromising, possessed, willed.
What do you want? Fame, praise, approbation, sales, acknowledgment, acclaim, admiration, a lasting legacy? And are these the kinds of things that motivate you to make art? I've written about this before but do you make your work by calculation or make it because it's in you, part of who you are?
I recognize aspiration, the desire to be something you are not or haven't arrived at yet. I get that. But what is there in you that you haven't found yet? And how are you going about discovering and using your creative self? And watch out: tread lightly here because there are many false prophets, looking to take your money and your heart.
I think you need to know who you are, comfortable in your own skin in order to be an artist. Not to say there isn't torture, angst, doubt, guilt, recrimination, insecurity rising its ugly head from time to time.
Last, I believe we live in an age and place where art is not revered or respected, it is misunderstood and maligned. At least in this year 2019 in the US of A. More: not paid attention to, not important, not acknowledged. Terrible.
A topic for another time, perhaps.
Next: the finishing, transporting, hanging of the American West show the 27th and then the 29th, a ten-day trip to shoot Wheat in Washington. Hope you will read along. Should be good. Looking forward to the "same but different" out there, this my 20th trip.
and one more:
the beautiful walkway to the beach.