I’ve discussed the slippery slope of making pictures for other people, commercial purposes, fulfilling the needs and ideas of someone other than yourself. Many people have discussed this effect cominng at it from a lot of different angles. Most of the photographers that talk about the importance of personal work are talking about the same thing one way or another. When I host workshops, be they technical or conceptual, I try my absolute hardest to infuse them with a bit of underlying subtext that exploration, the process of making photographs, the journey, and the intent are so very important and also extremely fragile. How giving yourself permission to make bad images is a big part of artistic growth. I try to explain that from a personal experience perspective using as many different ways as I can.
Here’s the rub — it’s almost impossible to really absorb that kind of information if you’re not ready to. How do I know that? Well, there’s a lot of people that tried to tell me the same things in the past. Only now do I fully grasp what they were telling me.
So why do I, as well as so many others even try to communicate this kind of more philosophical take on photography? Simple, assuming the motivation is the same as my own, it’s to help even just one person avoid a few roads to nowhere. To help avert the path that so many people appear to desire so very badly as evidenced through what the mass conversation and market of all things photographic seems to be.
I don’t recommend many podcasts or anyone’s books (other than actual photographic monologues) but today I feel compelled to point you to one that struck me as particularly well articulated. Specifically surrounding a set of thought processes that is almost impossible to articulate to anyone that hasn’t already been through a few of the pitfals of making art. I’ve read or taken in quite a few discussions that anyone that’s already found a way through them would identify with but that’s only really good for commiseration. This discussion just might be one of the best that could possibly speak to people that haven’t been there yet. Higly recommended…
I’ve recommended The Candid Frame as one of the podcasts I find extremely well done and better yet — extremely worthwhile. This episode is fantastic. I’m not a huge fan of David — that’s not a judgement — just a sytlistic opinion. Typically I find his communication style sickeningly sweet or something along those lines for my particular consumption but I really appriciate how well he articulates something that’s an extremely difficult subject to talk about in an intellegible way. If the new book he’s hawking here is anything like this interview it’s probabably a worthwhile read if you happen to be in the midst of finding your way out of an artistic crisis — or possibly avoid one — or maybe just to identify markers along the way of the road to hell.