Sunday, July 22, 2012

Old Man's House





July 21st meeting with Mentor Shellburne Thurber

I brought to my first mentor meeting all of the work I brought to the AIB residency, along with work prints of the various things I have been photographing since.   Shellburne spent a of of time with me (over two hours), looking carefully at all my work, and asking me about myself and life and work.  For me it was a great visit that I didn't want to ever end.  But she gave me a lot of insight and ideas, and also affirmed that I was on the right track by just following my nose.

She loved where my work with reflections was going, and said I should continue them.  To answer "everybody does reflections" she told me to remember that honestly everything has been done before so I should just carry on.

I felt my recent work was a jumble of dissimilar imagery, because I have been trying out new things.   But she said all my work is really talking about the same things: Impermanence and Possibilities.  She said the best of my reflections talk about possibility, going beyond where you are, seeing things in a new way,  and stepping into new worlds.  She said my newer work is about looking back while knowing you can never go back.  She said the combination speaks of the transience of time.

She told me that I am "not a photographer's photographer", and my answer was that for me photography is just another crayon in the box.  She was happy with that answer, and said that my advisor, John, was absolutely correct when he told me to do other forms of artwork this semester along with my photography.  But she was also excited where my photography was going.  She showed me other photographers, particularly William Christenberry who does sculpture, painting, and drawing along with his photography.  the other photographers she told me to look at were Fredrick Sommers, David Armstrong, and Seaton Smith.  She is going to email a few more names for whom she couldn't remember the proper spelling.

She also told me I should try using a 4 X 6 view camera for some of my imagery.  This response was triggered in particular by my "Self Portrait" below:

She also said I might consider pairing photographs together that seemingly have nothing to do with one another, like these two:

July 14th William Wegman artist talk at Bowdoin College

July 13th a William Wegman exhibition opened at Bowdoin College Art Museum called "Hello Nature".  The exhibition fills five rooms, and is comprised of paintings, drawings, photographs, and videos.  There is a book, entitled "Hello Nature", that accompanies the exhibition, and I have seen it in other bookstores, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Store.  There are some comments he made at his artist talk that I would like to remember:

"When you're making a photograph you're really making a map of things.  Fattening things out helps you to explain them."

William Wegman went to photography because in the 60's there was a belief that painting was dead.  He liked photography because photographs are small, can be reproduced. put in books, and spread around.  He liked the idea of 'small' and 'moveable', particularly in response to the large earthworks being created out west at the time.

Wegman searches for structure and meaning in his photography.  He likes taking ordinary things out of their ordinary sphere and putting them out of sync.

When Wegman began taking photos of his dog Man Ray with props he didn't really have any plan for where things would go.  And he learned quickly that he had to allow the "Luck" to happen in his work.