For What it is Worth

    I am sorta floundering around right now.  Not particularly sure what I want or should be planning for.  Thankfully I still have a few interesting clients, but I have always had trouble with doing personal projects.  I need to have them in a greater context. Not just necessarily for money, but at least for more than my singular gratification. Molly is completely opposite; she would be very happy to sit in her studio, making art and probably just storing it in the house.  A few shows, but her penchant for making large  (she’s found these doors which make a cheap canvas ) pieces which are impossible to sell and hard to transport.  Me, I like to have the work published or at least seen on a regular basis.  Or serve a purpose, like marketing for a non-profit.  Any enlightenment here is welcome. Maybe it’s time to allow myself to want to do something just for me?

I think this is the part I wish to respond to, as it points out the fundamental differences between you and me. And it seems I am more like Molly. I too am totally content sitting in creative space, whatever that maybe…used to be a darkroom, now a computer mostly. I just want to make things I have never seen before or simply for my own amusement. And while client work has it’s creative moments, I could live with out it. However client work often provides the opportunity to be in a place to learn something or see something I might never have access to, like the White House. Also like Molly, I love making big prints and lot of them. I have thousands of prints laying around in boxes and drawers. When this show comes home from Google, I don’t know where it is going. I am literally out of storage space. I do have a client willing to store them on their walls. I will also consider other creative possibilities, like donations to auctions, studio sales, or just giving them away.

I think it is ok to volunteer or serve with a purpose as you say. But my greatest asset isn’t providing manpower to a worthy cause, but rather giving the world images that speak to the way I see, to share my unique vision. If I flounder around, it is because I often think nobody cares, that all I am doing is creating more visual pollution… But I usually fight that off. I think it is important to do something just for me. It is an amazing feeling I get any time any one buys my prints, something I can’t get from client fees that may be ten times more. Somebody buys something they don’t need because they like it. I once was teaching a class and I was sharing my work one day. A pile of hand made silver prints, all personal work. During lunch break, I was sitting with two students and one of them said she really liked my work and could she buy a print? I said sure and she asked how much? It was a precious little print, the one she wanted, 8×10, I think. I asked her how did she want to pay? She asked if $20 was ok? I said sure, signed the print and off she walked, beaming. The other student looked at me and said why did you do that? She knew my work in the galleries sold for much more than that. I knew the woman who bought my print could barely afford to be in my class, so I said to the second student, she gave me her lunch money and probably her bus money too. And all she got for her $20 was a piece of paper. It made her happy. That was at least 25 years ago, but I still remember it when I find myself floundering. This is why it do it…

This is what I did this afternoon…



The top image is from my grandfathers funeral in 1982. An uncle recently passed away and I am trying to share images with my cousins and perhaps just revisit the time and place and see what I can recall. I seem to be in a place where I am trying to connect the dots of my life. The lower image is somewhat unusual. When the flood hit, in moving things, I found stuff…stuff I wanted to preserve or at least find appropriate homes for. I also wanted to identify things, things that might be trashed or cast aside as just an odd old thing or image. Like this image. The woman in the white jacket is Rosa Parks. Maybe the most unusual photograph ever made of her. Maybe it is just me, but I think it is important…somehow. Never published or seen even, in fact, you are the first, well technically the second. Until I scanned it, this  image didn’t exist.

And this…

Microsoft, ground zero, 1986.

My sense you have spent a great of your life giving to others. I think it is time you give to yourself. For what it is worth.