Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

I am learning to live without desire. This brings me to the doorway of uncharted territory. They say the only unexplored area left on earth is the 140 million square miles of the ocean floor. All things considered, I find this hard to believe.

Most of what we think is essential to our survival has been blown out of proportion. I used to think I would die if I couldn't dance. I have finally agreed to stop wanting what I can't have. Everywhere I go, the earth seems to be tilting away from me. If the sun were the size of a basketball, then the earth would be the head of a pin.

I am learning to live with the paradox that the horizon, when I finally get there, is not likely to be at all the way I pictured it.

There must be more to life than love. There must be worse things than being alone. Perhaps the trick is to remember that even the angles and shadows of a small empty room must operate according to the protocol of perspective. Examine the absolute inertia of corners where all three right angles must converge.

From my kitchen window I can see brick houses, yellow tulips, my neighbor's pink flamingo, and a blue car traveling north. I can even see the back of an apartment building three blocks over. I can see a small brown bird in a big green tree. I can see those many electrified wires by which we are all connected to each other and to the rest of the world. But I cannot catch even a glimpse of the horizon from here.

- Diane Schoemperlen

Monday, October 11, 2010


I went home for a day to shoot my good friend Kendra's wedding. This is, of course, a painful tease visually and verbally as I impatiently mull my way through an overwhelming load of photos. But, golly, what a beautiful day. More to come shortly.

Sweet Feeling

When I'm not scootin' around downtown, preparing and serving high protein food and drink to elite young inhabitants of the Sears (sorry, "Willis") Tower, I enjoy snoozing on Carrie's bed, playing with her cat, stealing her wireless internet, consuming her neighborhood's cheap falafel, and, of course, observing the beautiful streams of light that creep through her windows. Thank God for friendships this rare and wonderful.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take a Deep Breath

I won't drag out the vulgarity or the anger to address Charles Yesenczki's blog post, and in no way do I expect to receive even half the response, but I do have something -- I suppose it's rather recycled -- to say on the topic of photography, and it seems like now might be just as appropriate a time as ever. Especially after seeing the Cartier-Bresson exhibit at the Art Institute last weekend and feeling just, ah, in love, engaged, and bright-eyed about the possibilities of communication and expression in this particular medium.

In the time I spent as a photography student in college, I felt like I constantly fought for my credibility (most of the time against some invisible, mentally-contrived audience... some of the time against fellow photographers... but fighting and fighting nonetheless). Why did I feel this way? I overheard someone (rather, an "award-winning" photojournalism student) once say, "I can't imagine myself taking photos like these," in reference to my commercial class's work in the hallway display case. "What do you mean?" "You know... photos that don't matter."

I think, in the end, it is difficult for us to determine what work "matters" on a specific scale and what work doesn't. That's because YOU can't possibly know the entirety of my intentions (even if I so neatly spell them out)... and even though I have made several jabs at assuming yours, I can't accurately do that, either. And what's the scale, anyway? How do we establish that something like a photograph is meaningful?

The work that matters to me is the work that I care about doing.

In college, I identified myself as a "commercial" photographer. That's what my transcript reads, anyway. I didn't have a knack for shooting the news -- maybe I didn't have the interest, at least for awhile, either. On the other hand, I don't necessarily know if I had the interest in producing promotional/advertising photography. I guess I just wanted to have more of a say in the outcome, and of the two sequences, commercial seemed to fit my ambitions. Either way, it's all a pretty silly. Now that I find myself out of college, I consider myself a photographer. Labels aside, I take the photos I want to take, and I feel the pressures to fit in, to receive validation, to establish fans, and to seem utterly mind-blowing slip further and further away from concern.

I don't know if it was simply my sequence or my physical presentation or my social "associates" or, hell, even my gender (sorry to toss that card out there, but I do think it's pertinent in this particular field, especially professionally) that made me feel so stifled and invisible in VisCom, but I battled those shitty, ridiculous feelings until the day I graduated. Maybe perfectionism is to blame (or maybe a strong competitive nature that is now substantially weaker) for the standards I set for myself creatively, professionally, and, damn it, personally. If you're feeling stifled, I think it's important to examine why, to confront those fucking terrible feelings, and to fight them! Keep fighting them!

I found myself truly loving and admiring the work of so many beautiful and gifted photographers at Ohio University, and surely it was the inspiration of Charles and others that pushed me to step outside of the commercial world and consider the bigger picture. I started looking a little closer at everyone else's work to feel a little closer to my own. To everyone -- even those who I may never reach again and who may have no interest in reaching me -- thank you.

In the end, I don't think that entering contests is right or wrong. Certainly if you are proud of your work and you want it to reach people, there are effective ways of doing just that, especially if you're "just getting started." However, it's important to remember why we are where we are. And what keeps us going in a desired direction.

I did enter CPOY this year. Taking a step back, I can wholeheartedly say that I am proud of the work I produced in my final year of college, strained as it might have been, and I do find the work meaningful to my life and my journey as a young photographer. I felt relaxed and content submitting my work... probably because the pressure to rise above the rest of my classmates for a petty pat on the back wasn't there. Probably because I've realized that it's all so damn relative (and thankfully the Illustration category is virtually overlooked, ha). In the end, I just wanted to share my images with a greater audience so that they may captivate or touch, if even slightly, someone else. Maybe they are just a bunch of pretty "meaningless" photos to you. Maybe. I have never won an award in photography or received any formal acknowledgment for the photo work I've done. The reality is that I may never.

But thankfully, the impact of the photographs does not rely on such things out of my control.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You and Whose Army?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010