Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015

Galen Rowell, "The best photographs speak for themselves.  Attempts to analyze their meaning invariably detract from the special quality that is beyond words in the first place.   The photographs that move me the most propel me into an emotional realm where my experience is no longer verbal."

We live creating memories. These memories are our life’s story, our created truth that we were here on this planet and we lived and we died and the only way to preserve them is through picture taking, writings and visual art. These become the artifacts left behind of me and my time here.

In photography, before social media, these images were in family albums and picture frames hung on hallway walls, a shrine to our living in this time and space and our recognition of the continuity between generations, as new images were put in the albums for our family members to see and appreciate especially on holidays.

What is different today in this explosion of social media sites, is that we don’t have a unified place to see our family history but have individual sites that broadcast our memories not just for family members but for the whole world to see, read and judge.

Our real families are fragmenting, growing apart from each other and now correspond in public view on social sites.

We now have an audience other than family to entertain and show our personal lives to.  We also have an audience for our on going personal memories and we get noticed, rewarded, and of course we get sympathy and condolences from strangers on theses media platforms and our immediate families are becoming secondary.  

Our private inner world is no longer private for family and close friends. We have given access to our world to everyone. We expose ourselves for all to examine, not only our personal thoughts but of course the images we create. We are not ourselves but living a life as a public spectacle.  We are becoming actors looking for attention and are reacting to our budding created lives and not focused on truth of memory.  We are not allowing things to happen naturally in the moment but instead forcing things to happen for a larger number of views on social media.  

We are living our lives through social media. Our personal fragmented truth is a facade of spectacle and not necessarily true to who we are or who we want to become. Social media is a distraction from living life to it’s fullest.  

Intimacy through privacy allows us to connect with our loved ones on a one on one basis.Without this we lose our personal past and the ones we trust.

This tsunami of imagery is overwhelming our senses. We are losing our ability to recognize good meaningful photographs.  We don’t have the stamina it seems to study an image and enjoy the stillness and calm reflections and interaction we once had with the subject photographed.  All is becoming quick and easy surface reading with no understanding or reflection on what we see.  We are herded down a narrow path to what is the next and greatest novelty.  Not what connects with our inner landscape, our visual talents that reflect who we are.    
Photography is becoming a scrap book of forced events posted on social media to make ourselves look more important than we are.  This is a false illusion of who we are as a society.
We have elevated the trivial to a stature way beyond understanding and we are missing intimacy which is necessary for relationships to grow and mature and have meaning and purpose.

We are dumbing down our mental chords, as well as our vocal chords by allowing our lives to be hijacked by media outlets which collect information about us in order to sell things to us  (just as our imagery is becoming things to be exploited) when we should be interacting with each other and exploring and creating images with focused purpose.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015

Ralph Gibson wrote, "The content of many photographs is often centred around an event. To make 'event' photographs the photographer must align himself in place and time with the event.  One minute late for the execution and his shot is missed, as it were.  I'm not interested in recording great moments in history.  For me, the great event is when my awareness has risen to the point of perception, a brief but intense moment.  At such times one could photograph almost anything... a corner, or a chair, a detail of something normally insignificant, etc.. I crave this feeling because of its greater clarity.  One day it occurred to me that it was no longer a question of how to photograph but rather of what to photograph".  Ralph Gibson wrote this in the early seventies.

The words of Ralph Gibson have become universally true. We now live our lives through social media. What to photograph now means indiscriminate shots of every little detail of our personal life.  It is, as if we have become personalities in our own little life movie.  Our snap shot mantra is, these have to be shown to prove that I am living and enjoying my time on earth.  These mundane images validate our existence to others.  We need this attention from the social media sites because we have become fragmented in knowing who we are and what we want to become.  It is easier to take pictures of your life because it gets sticky to examine yourself and find out what really matters to you.

Life's journey is no longer a deep exploration of our inner world along with our relationship with the outer world.  The outer world it seems is where the attention now is focused. It has become a distraction from asking hard questions concerning our life. Better to photograph anything, than to think and focus on anything for over a few second.

Our fascination with decontextualizing the world, taking objects, ourselves included, out of context, to be seen by eager eyes on social media sites only enhances the obsession with the now.  Since we are wanting our personality to be seen, we are imitating each other, as if we were stars and all eyes were looking up at us.

When you are connected with your subject and exploring the opportunity to compose an image with purpose then you are creating and making a personal statement. These images will show your personality in an honest and unique way.  

Remember that when you are creating images it is not only you coming through in the final image but the subject as well.  If it was only you, then we would be back to creating more of the over saturation of me photographs.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Freeman Patterson, "A photographer should resist every temptation to codify the principles of visual design or create pictorial formulas, because such attempts will stifle intuition, reduce emotional input, and put technique ahead of expression".  

The redundancy in image creation is stifling original ideas. 

Take for example the selfie.  This mundane snap shot, which belongs in a family album, has now infiltrated the consciousness of our youth.  It is a separation from, not an invite to participate in the life environment, we need to create original images.  If we are only looking at ourselves in a scene then how can we explore our external subject when we are selfishly becoming an object to ourselves.

You know that the selfie is corrupting our ability to interact with nature when the ad agencies are now imitating this as a way to sell products.
To experience the world on a deeper level we must throw out these stifling stereotypes and open up our minds to seeing the world with fresh eyes.  We must be willing to take a new step toward our internal interests and find our individual creative spirit. 

Social media can paralyze your perception of the world and how you interact with it. Creating shallow moments not of insight but of obnoxious self interest.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3, 2015

Photography is changing faster than the mind can adapt to the free for all content frenzy with no real structure to find a path back to a cohesive reality we all share in. Reality is being fragmented and destroyed by the ease of snap shot captures and then the ego posting of these images that you hope make you feel that you are alive and participating in a shared reality.  But you are being duped by the social media cartels. These snapshots have become emotional cushions to shore up an empty life without meaning.

The moment now is taken out of the real flowing moments of the present.  A time line that once had purpose because it gave us a cohesive perception of this shared reality. Is now a helter-skelter escape from time.  Everything now happens at once and at hyper speed.

We have become the objects in our life to take snap shots of.  The visual snapshot has become the source of our fulfillment. Experiencing nature first hand is forgotten, replaced by the obsession to document every second of our life through a mechanical device.

The picture now stands for our experience not words describing our experience to a friend.  Our vocabulary is diminishing as we rely more and more on the quick pic to be the only representation of that moment for us.  It is easy and cheap now to indulge ego, that all to common stride toward banal self indulgence.

We are becoming the Look At Me personalities, actors in our own lives.  Not authentic people but a series of posted snap shots of what we think others will like.

Erich Kahler, "What has happened is not so much a greater readiness, or capacity for understanding on the part of the public, but a radical transformations of art as such, an approximation of avant-garde work to the level of daily experience: our fragmented existence and its patent discordance's, the prevalence of life machinery over life itself, and hence its increasing mechanization."
Good photography is focusing your intensity on the subject not on yourself. I am not the physical subject of my photographs.  My feelings and personality show through when making images.  That is how I connect with my subject.  The camera is a conduit to a deeper reality.  Intense focus on your relationship with your subject is necessary in order to create an image with depth and visual understanding. When you see through focused attention your true subject revealed you begin to see the undercurrents of your life intersecting with your life's theme.

There is a purpose I seek in choosing this subject over another.  And as you dig deeper in the environment to select visual elements to represent your inner feeling you begin to loose track of time.

You are now fully involved using your chosen talents in the present moment not reflecting on yourself and then onto the subject.  But one with the subject you are creating.  It is a detective story of finding the scattered pieces of visually exciting elements of the scene and using your growing confidence in your abilities and putting the image puzzle together and creating an image worthy of other's attention.