It’s been too long; but sometimes life gets in the way.
The photograph here was part of my final work for the class I was taking this spring. It was an element of a triptych that was to be somehow autobiographical. In the end, I dropped the photos from the previous two posts and redid them so that the three works were all of a piece.
In doing so, the breakthrough came for me that this is an important step in my development as a photographer. I have a pretty clear idea of the subject I would like to work on as a project and this photograph is perhaps the first in a long series. I have a strong inclination towards skin and nudes, although not at all in the standard sorts of ways; the glam, soft-core crap that so many photographers do or even in a portrait / art nude sort of way, either. What I’m looking for is a more difficult beauty, a conceptual idea of skin as a surface of culture and as the site of our participation with the world.
So here we have skin that is hardly recognizable as such, at least at first glance, with some decaying flower petals strewn about. The important thing, though, is not the basic descriptive elements of the photograph, but the feeling that they convey, a sense of nostalgia, of something lost, or at least just out of reach.
For the entire time, pretty much, that I’ve been working at this seriously, I’ve been a go-out-and-find-stuff photographer, and probably I will still do that, because some of my themes can only be found in that way. But I have found that working in the studio and pre-conceptualizing is a strong method of work. Moving forward with this will, however, require overcoming some lifelong personal traits. And that may take some work.
It feels good, though, to have come to this place; to know that my art has a point, a focus, a meaning, perhaps that even a style is emerging. Some of the photos I took during my first bout with photography in the mid-’70s also have a hint of this point of view that has emerged so strongly of late, but the process of clarifying this over the past months and years has been gratifying. Although I suspect that my vision will not have a huge audience, if, in fact, quite a small one, I have come to the point where I can work with more confidence and not worry so much about that.