I walked out of the class completely undone and it took months to work through it and arrive at a new understanding of my work and it's presentation.
It's been a couple of months since I last posted. I am in a period of lots of work, lots of putting myself out there, but nothing to report on other than I am doing that. I've been unsuccessful on a few of the submissions, but most of them are still outstanding. As in any day now.
I believe I have made close to ten submissions since the beginning of the year. A year or so ago I said on this blog and to myself, that I was going to be really choosy about submitting to calls and focus on portfolio reviews and AIR opportunites.
I was indeed choosey about call submissions and did fewer of them. I only did one AIR submission. I had a bunch more lined up in the fall, but at the end of September I took a master class on photo books. The class undid me by questioning my conceptual approach to organizing and presenting my photographs. I entered the class believing that a chronological and seasonal approach to showing the work was the way to go. I had, in fact, begun to assemble a seasonal suite of books to cover the year 2016. I was excited about it. The leaders of the master class were not. I walked out of the class completely undone and it took months to work through it and arrive at a new understanding of my work and it's presentation.
So how have things changed? During the workshop I was given a structural metaphor for my work, Charles Ives' Unanswered Question Symphony. It is a beautiful symphonic composition. It has three parts. There is a continuous "music of the spheres" strings part. There is a posing of the fundamental question trumpet part. There is an answer to the question woodwinds section that tries repeatedly and with increasing agitation to respond to the trumpet, without success.
And isn't that the plight we find ourselves in? We would dearly love to know what it all means, but so many of us have no satisfactory answer to the question. I know I don't.
My approach to photography is most accurately labeled as diaristic. I shoot most days, make a lot of photographs, and there is no particular theme or project driving my work. I am dipping into the "music of the spheres" continuum, capturing moments that compel me and saving them for reflection.
I have begun to make "assemblages" of my photographs. These assemblages range from simple pairings to sets of nine to twelve images that have themes such as flora, spectral, detrital, the rock, clouds. There is no chronology involved anymore, though there certainly could be. I am calling them "meditations." I suppose you would say they are contemplations of the question and possible answers. None of them asks a definitive question or supplies a definitive answer. They simply suggest lines of inquiry.
What does this have to do with making more submissions? Well, it all came together at the time of year when there are lots of submission calls that are worth the effort and the new approach is easily adaptable to the limited number of images that can be submitted to them. The new way of looking at things is relatively easy to express and the various meditations have been easy to title. My former way of looking at things didn't make any of this very easy.
Have you ever found a source of inspiration outside your work or taken a class that helped you to a new plane of understanding of it? I would love to hear about it.