Sunday, January 01, 2006

Photography: Daguerreotypes to Digital

At our annual Holiday party, everyone in the photo section brought a print to exchange. We drew numbers and chose a print accordingly. The print which I brought went unselected. It was the last print standing. Ouch. As it was a party and I was well into the "spirit" of things, I tried to make light of the situation with a few jokes. They didn't like my jokes either. Ouch again.
None the less, I was grateful. It was a great form of feedback. It forces a honest opinion. All to often, among friends, work is appraised with the aim of offering encouragement. Actually, a painfully honest review would better help the artist understand what is "working". I just read a great article by Jerry Saltz in the Village Voice concerning criticism. "in most reviews there's no way to know what the writer thinks, or you have to scour the second-to-last paragraph for one negative adjective to detect a hint of disinclination. This is no-risk non-criticism." Offering genuine criticism is a risky endeavor. Since it is by nature subjective, offering it bares elements of oneself for others to see. This seems only fair as the artist is often naked too.

Another part of this, and the toughest of all, is self-criticism of ones own artwork. This photograph, shot by yours truly, is currently on display in the show titled "Photography: Daguerreotypes to Digital" until March 4th at the Saint Louis Artists' Guild. It was taken at the flood wall just south of St. Louis. Harsh light, flat subject, sharp elements, strong contrast, it is quite different from the nature photography I usually do. The photograph is interesting but I don't know if that is sufficient to consider it successful.
The utilitarian function of electrical conduit and panel on the concrete flood wall give way to an expression of art in the urban wilderness. Stenciling is used as the printmaker takes to the streets. It is interesting to note I saw the stencil of Curlie used in another show so I now know one of the hands that touched this wall.

This photograph of the Rocky Mountains is another piece which I have in the show. Critically speaking, for nature photography, it lacks strength in the mid tones. However, my goal is not really traditional nature work but to try and create a more contemporary effect and in this respect, I feel the piece works.


Post a Comment

<< Home