An arm and a leg

An arm and a leg

An arm and a leg

I found myself on the Flickr page of a young teenage girl the other day and… it was instructive. She wrote, with typical teenish angst, about how she hated taking good pics… because she knew she only had so many in her… and, after a few good ones… she knew she’d be back to crap.

I used to feel the same way. In fact, I clearly remember doing a pic called "desperately searching" after getting… for the first time… a good response to one of my pics. It was nice to get the good response but… agggh. What then?

Thankfully I’m much more philosophical about it now.

I no longer see each photo as a contest with myself, as a challenge to constantly improve.

Instead, I’ve been going back through my old files and looking at the pics with the benefit of distance – and not being quite so judgmental about it all. Sure, I’ve been deleting stuff (that, after all, was my initial reason for trolling through my files) but I’ve also been appreciating things in a different way.

Maybe when I get back to shooting (some day) that will be different too. For now, I’ve been immersing myself in the works of Barbara Ess. Her images refuse to just lie flat. They demand your attention, and your participation – and in the process remind you of the crucial role that you, the viewer, play in their creation. Her images are dark, and blurred, and murky. She shoots with a home-made pinhole camera and is masterful in her manipulations of distortion. But the images do not reveal themselves easily. You, the viewer, have to work for it, think about it, enter the photograph and feel your way around.

Ess’s art is decidedly not representational. She once said, "I don’t take pictures of the world to represent the world. For me the world is already a representation of something that can’t be photographed."

You go, Barbara. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Meantime, I’ll just keep going through my files and filling my eyes with other people’s work. When my brain and eyes are ready, the camera will find its way back into my hands.

Posted by McNeney on 2009-01-13 16:07:03

Tagged: , arm , leg , trunk , this is an outtake from… well, Flickr tells me it was June 2007 , back when I was a spry young 41 , and could more easily fold myself into very small cobwebby musty places , i like that this is bascially straight from the camera – no PS required, except to even out the shadows , i must say… i DO have a small urge to shoot today… but only because yesterday i had the good fortune to traipse through a magnificent old house whose owner recently died , she had lived there all her life and absolutely everything in that house is intact and original , from the push button light switches to the leaded-glass-front built in cabinets to… oh my goodness… the beautiful pie safe built right in to the back porch , the house is currently getting a good thorough cleaning , and i’m lucky enough to know the guy who owns the cleaning business , and his staff were kind enough to let not just me… but Echo and me tour the house and indulge our curiosity , if i could get some time in there alone with my camera… , oooooh ooooooh ooooooh , Hmmmmmmmm , i wonder…

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