I learned they are almost all on the young side, focused on photojournalism or documentary photography, dividing their time between at least two different continents, have compelling life stories and are really good.
Last Saturday was Second Saturday in Beacon NY, which meant enhanced art and entertainment offerings designed to make the city a happening place that attracts droves of visitors, or at least gets the local residents out and about to spend some money. The atmosphere was festive despite the debilitating heat and humidity.
I have recently accepted the mostly volunteer position of official Second Saturday photographer, not that I need anything more on my plate. I did it because my work is devoid of images of people and I wanted to force myself to get comfortable with making pictures of strangers, with the end goal of incorporating people images into my photo practice.
My first stop was Theo Ganz Studio for the opening of an exhibition of drawings by Joseph Pimentel. The work was interesting, the crowd young, tattooed and nose ringed.
I felt a little awkward and self conscious. Making it more difficult was a friend who wanted to talk to me even though I was clearly struggling to pay attention. I felt a little rude. I have to learn to let people know when I need to focus elsewhere.
While I was doing my photo thing I watched the gallery owner talk to a gentleman who was interested in three of my flower photographs displayed on top of the gallery flat files. The conversation went so far as to pull my portfolio out of the drawer and go through it. Clearly the man was interested. He didn’t buy anything but it was satisfying to watch the exchange.
After a while I made my way down the street to a book release party for The Humorless Ladies of Border Control, by Franz Nicolay, at Binnacle Books. The space was small and crowded. There was really only one shot to be gotten. I hung out for a bit, listened to the reading, got a dozen or so versions of my one shot, then departed for an art opening at Oak Vino.
When I arrived there was almost nobody there, and the artist herself nowhere to be seen. Samantha Palmeri, friend and fine abstract painter, was at the bar with a friend of hers and the AC was fierce, so I sat down, ordered a glass of wine and enjoyed being cool and able to breathe.
Erica Hauser, the artist of the show, eventually showed up. We chatted a bit, I bought her a congratulatory glass of wine, and then moved on. I had intended to make one more gallery stop, but heat, humidity and wine conspired to drive me in the direction of home.
On my way back I ran into a woman who had been at Theo Ganz Studio. She stopped me to ask if the flower photographs were mine. I said yes. She said they were beautiful. I thanked her for telling me so and said I was proud of them. Awkward silence. She told be they were beautiful again. I thanked her again. We moved on.
Later in the week I got my review of a LensCulture submission I made a couple of months ago. I had known for at least a month that I had not placed. The review was positive, even going so far as to say my work was beautiful and to keep it up. The one critique was that the group of photos was not completely cohesive, which was correct. I had submitted to a section of the competition that chose individual images to recognize and had not felt the need for the set to be cohesive. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they always have to be cohesive. Note to self.
On Thursday I got an email regarding accommodations for the photo book master class I will take at the end of September. It contained the email addresses of all the participants so I decided to look them up to see who I would be sharing the class with. I learned they are almost all on the young side, focused on photojournalism or documentary photography, dividing their time between at least two different continents, have compelling life stories and are really good. A year or two ago I would have been intimidated, but not now. Just excited to be mixing it up with the younger folks of quality on such a high level. I am pretty confident in my work these days. It will be interesting to see how they respond to it. It is quite different from theirs.