Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011 0

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011 0

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Philosophy Reading Response #1; John Dewey and 'Individualism'

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 1

The Ventriloquist’s Sermon

There is an odd bifurcation in American society between what we state as our beliefs and what we actually practice. We have constructed around us a monied society, where “to the victor belong the spoils”. In America, usually the more brutal and cunning a businessperson is, the more rewarded they are. Thus, from a Darwinian perspective, we should (in theory) be praising greed and ruthlessness as our highest virtues. Instead though, we loudly claim to hold the religious precepts of selflessness and kindness as our ultimate principles. And, while the difference between what we say and what we do is very interesting, the more important aspect to contemplate is why there is a separation at all. While scientific progress has advanced our industrial capabilities rapidly, it would appear that our moral schemas have become calcified in response, ingraining themselves even deeper within our collective mentality.

We are currently experiencing this uniquely American cognitive dissonance while debating universal healthcare. On one hand, as a primarily Christian society, we claim that we should help those who cannot help themselves, by taking care of the poor, the elderly and sick. In truth though, we resist any changes to the current system, citing arguments that a change would not only take away from the bottom line of major (and highly profitable) corporations, but that any modification would also allow unemployed freeloaders (or worse yet, illegal immigrants) to have an advantage that gainfully employed Americans should be privy to alone.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011 1
As a photographer, the concept of 'choice' is something dear to my heart, so a few rambling words on the subject today.

I am in no way an expert, but I strongly believe that choice in photography is very much like choice in politics, religion and philosophy. It is best to have a concrete understanding of exactly what it is that you believe and, more importantly, also possess a coherent understanding of both why you believe in this ideal and how you would like this belief to involve and evolve the world around you in the future.

Additionally, one principle should be clearly understood: not making a choice is, in itself, a form of choice. It is deciding not to decide (a meta-decision, if you will). And thus, it is also the decision to allow others to decide what is correct or best.

Of course, this is not always a bad thing. In fact, often it is the primary tool for our survival. I don't know the best way to put out a fire, so I trust the firemen with that duty. I can't farm well or build televisions either, and I'm ok with that. As specialty professionals, we hope that our politicians and bankers understand the laws and complexities of finance more than ourselves (and are not unacceptably corrupt), so we give them (hopefully limited) power over our lives. (As for philosophy and religion though, I tend to handle those delicate packages myself.)

But, where artists and their artwork are concerned, we have a special case. It is my opinion that any artist worth a damn makes as many (non-vague and non-random) decisions as possible. (Unless, that is, the artist is making a commentary about 'choice' itself, such as Han Arp was attempting to demonstrate with his collages.) A good artist needs to clearly realize that every single aspect of their art is a reflection of an intentional and distinct choice that they have made.

I believe (although perhaps I am wrong) that many successful artists have an instinctual understanding of this. What is surprising to me though is, as far as photography students at the University go, a startling number of them do not fully grasp this idea. Painters, yes. Sculptors, yes. But photography students, no. They seem to adhere to a more Cartier-Bresson 'Decisive Moment' philosophy. And I think, perhaps, it is through sheer laziness or lack of imagination that many (not all, of course) of the others do not stretch their minds out forward, towards a specific end result. It is a digital symptom. They would much rather buy a ticket to the shotgun lottery than force a hard decision in advance. It makes me want to instill within them the mantra, "Be intentional! Be intentional! Be intentional!"

(By the way, I must confess, I love Cartier-Bresson. His photos are more complex than many of the other students realize. His images display a beautiful, layered intelligence that is slow to reveal itself.)

In my opinion, the photographer should be acutely conscious of the wide array of possibilities and then should attempt to limit those possibilities down to one exact image, by answering questions such as:

Where do I place the camera? At what height and what angle do I shoot from? How will the subject be placed within the lighting? Will it be indoor lighting? Should I use a flash and, if so, what type? Outdoor lighting? If outdoors, what time of day do I shoot (as it will affect the color and shadow)? What time of year do I shoot (for shadow angle)? What part of the image will be in focus and what part will be out of focus (and for each, why)? Do I use a lens filter here? How will I eventually present this photo? Online? Printed? If so, printed on what paper? How will I frame the image? And, of course, what possible inferences and interpretations will be made by the viewer? Am I saying anything here? Will others be able to understand what I am trying to communicate to them? Is it alright with me if they do not understand? Prope ad infinitum, baby.

These all seem like very basic questions to me, but only a few students seem to consciously ask themselves the same, which frustrates me. Hopefully this will change as I get into the higher level classes.

A while back, a friend of mine (also an Art major) confessed to me that she strongly disliked this photograph. (It is one of my favorites and I have it hanging on my wall at home. It rests in a thick, black frame and is hanging near the restroom, by the way.)

So, I asked her why she didn't care for it.

"I don't know... It's upside down and it makes me dizzy?"

I'm not sure that she understood my response when I replied that, although I was not surprised by her words, I considered the first part of her statement as incorrect and the second part as a compliment.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011 0

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Meta Meta Camp

Thursday, December 30, 2010 0
I never link to anything here. Or, that is to say, I never have before this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

QR Meta Meta QR

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 0

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Statement for My Final

Sunday, December 12, 2010 1

~Artist Statement~

The forever-asked question; “What is a photograph?” Is it simply an image? Is it nothing more than a pattern of light and shadow? Is it life or a representation of life? Is it some kind of conceptual treasure map? Is it just ink on a page or data in a series? Most will say that a photograph is all of these things and more.

So, the question then becomes instead… “What is a photograph to me?”

The great secret of my life is that I am truly a broken person. I am the fracture personified. I am manic-depressive. I have brutally long bouts with insomnia. I am constantly disappointed with my own incoherent and chaotic thought structures, with my lack of desires and ambitions. I am awkward with people and tend to burn my bridges all too frequently.

The only thing that keeps my incessant and rambling thoughts at bay is photography. When my hand is on the camera, when I allow myself to be actually aware, I suddenly navigate within the landscape as though it were a dance. I glide forward and back. I twist this way and that. I quietly hum to myself as I go though the computations of angles and compositions. Then CLICK! I have it. It is mine. I go home. I download, modify and, if I am happy with the results, I publish. Only then am I able to fall asleep easily.

So, once more I ask, what is a photograph to me? And the answer is: a photograph the key to my sanity.

My mind is a parking garage, empty in the dead of night. Everything within has become insoluble, abstract. I have become the husk of something that was once useful, but now consists of nothing more than dull slabs of concrete, accidentally leaked oil and sickly-yellow fluorescent lights.

I have no family to speak of. I have no money in the bank. I have no home that matters. I have no person to love. But, I do have a camera.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010 0

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010 0

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 0
I've been busy. You know, finals.

With that said, I have three stories that I should have detailed by now.


Her: "Oh good, I can call you Uncle Scott then."

-Tomorrow plus one-

The Janitor: "Are you breaking into there?"

Me: "Just a little bit, yeah."


Stieglitz and I have a duel to the death.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010 0
Saturday night and my mind is racing. I've been doing a little research on the Conceptual Art movement on the 1960s / 1970s and it's giving me all sorts of wonderful ideas.

Actually, first, let me go back one step.

It was a little rough and tumble there for a while, but it looks as though I'm getting into the Conceptual Strategies photography class next quarter. This is particularly good because, at first, it appeared as though I was not going to be taking any Winter photography classes at all. (See: complaint letter in earlier post.)

So, in desperation to fill the three classes I was denied access to, I registered for Social and Political Philosophy 308 (essentially a quick tour of Plato through Marx), Interactive Digital Arts 252 (a required class that details art and the internet) and Art 101 (a required rudimentary history course that I was hoping to take in my final quarter of next year, just for the sheer oddity of finishing up my college experience with the class I should have taken first).

But I received an e-mail today saying that, after further review, I could take the Conceptual Strategies class.

I'm not exactly certain what pushed me in. It could have been my letter, or perhaps my current teacher put in a good word for me. Heck, maybe I just got lucky. Regardless, I'm very happy to have been accepted.

CS a 400 level photography class though, which is my first, so I'm a touch worried that I might be jumping into the deep end of the pool. The professor put the fear of God in me a little by saying (originally) that he thought perhaps I wasn't ready for the course. And, actually, I trust his opinion more than my own. But what the Hell? I'm going to do it anyway. I only have five more quarters before I graduate, which means I only have five more chances to take photography courses. After this, I'm still hoping to take Large Format, Digital I, Digital II, Color Photography and something called 'The Fabricated Image', so I'd better not turn down any opportunity, even if I'm not perfectly qualified.

No matter. I'll simply have to work twice as hard and I have no problem with that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010 0

In my dreams tonight, I was watching a disturbing film, about a fireman with an axe, who walked into a daycare center and suddenly began chopping up a young boy. The film in the dream was so upsetting to me, I woke up.

I then walked into the kitchen and drank a large glass of cold, refreshing water.

Afterwards, I went back to sleep and had a different dream, one where I was sitting in a room with four or five therapists, all of whom wanted to discuss my original dream. So then, in this second dream, we analyzed my first.

We determined that I was the fireman, the boy, myself and the therapists.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 0
to purchase
on credit card
a grab bag
of gut daggers
is to know
my first
abandoned home

Equivalents Indeed

Twenty Years Late to the Party ◄Design by Pocket, BlogBulk Blogger Templates