6/5/2019

Trying to come up with what to say so I don’t end up saying nothing.  

I started the month by taking a self-portrait in my bed and have left the camera on the tripod, cable release still attached and stored in the viewfinder (which on the RB is like a little box on top of the ground glass), since then. I biked close to 19 miles over the weekend. I’d like to do it again this weekend. I am trying to make a cohesive body of work but all I end up doing is staring at the clouds. Would like to stop feeling listless and (if only aggressively) throw myself in one particular direction. 

Re: my first sentence: Is it better to say nothing or to say the same shit over and over again? 

I feel like my last three blog posts have read exactly the same. If I’m a photographer who operates on opportunity, on some “decisive moment” bullshit, then I have to be present for those opportunities, right? I have to show up for myself and show up for the pictures that I want to take, right? There’s no good answer for what’s keeping me from doing that. 

This photo was one of the first I took with this camera, in the back-end of some forgotten railway yard in or next to Richmond. It was a blisteringly hot day and the photos I took of the sunset, later that evening, are all tinged around the edges with a humid fog. I’ve come to realize, all over again, that my work has only been successful when it’s been “about me,” or about what is going on in my life, or has my direct hand and heart in it, or some such drivel like that. I can only take the pictures I’m meant to take, if we want to get existential about it, and I have a lot of difficulty not feeling existential lately. 

So I’ve been trying to be more gentle with my work because I am being gentler with myself (in some respects). I want to be gentler and forgive myself and allow for tender feelings, and I want to kick my own ass in some respects. I shot 35mm all weekend, and all last weekend too, and I’ll have to kick my ass to get that film developed while on a pretty tight budget. I just want to have an engaged artistic practice. I want to be actively doing it, photographing, I’m tired of telling people I take pictures and then having very little to show for it. I’m tired of people not looking at my work. 

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I also have been thinking about this image more, recently:

Worth noting:

- The red and orange streaks in the middle of the photo are obviously a car. I want to experiment more with this. I’m reminded of some old aerial pictures of the DC area by Trevor Paglen. When the car drove in front of my camera I was frustrated but looking back it adds so much. 

- It’s a very nice image to view both small and large. Not all of my pictures can be described this way. I love the way the light hits the grass which you can only see when viewing sort of up close. 

- The sky is not black. It was a rainy night when I shot this and the sky is a murky reddish gray. I have wanted to capture the clouds like that for a while and even though it’s not the subject of the image it’s a nice touch.

- I feel like there are some art school stretches I could take to describe what it is I like about this picture, but at the end of the day, it’s just because the place and the time resonate with me when I look at it. I was in the middle of hashing drama out with my parents and my sister, I took the car to go get us Thai food and came back and took this. It’s taken across from the Sligo Creek golf course, but it’s also taken from right next to a soccer field in which I’d regularly lay around and make out with the first person I loved. We’ve both since moved away and grown into very different people but I usually think of him when I drive past that field. I have a memory from when I was younger of trying to fly a kite in this field with both of my parents. It’s also the same field that Lowell and I drove his car through to film a scene from one of his movies. For once I was more panicked about something than he was - it was three in the morning and all we did was drive the car through the grass, in the empty dark. 

I want what I bring to my photographs to be communicated and written but it’ll never be the end-all be-all to understanding the photographs. I want them to be resonant and worth looking at, both with and without the context that’s intrinsic to their creation. 

I take it all back - saying something, even if you’ve said it a hundred times, is better than saying nothing at all.

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