Friday, August 28, 2009

"Hard-won cleverness"

To try to keep my mind working (the key word being "try"), I subscribe (via Google Reader) to a number of art blogs. Recently a painter asked if she should just give up. Is she ever going to be really good at painting. I always relate these things to photography. And there were two paragraphs in this blog that hit home. This is from the blog of Robert Genn. Here's the link to the article: <http://clicks.robertgenn.com/give-up.php> He showed some examples of the painter's work, and here are the two paragraphs that resonated with me: Your work has a fine sense of feeling and atmosphere--rain, fog, etc., and a simple, understated honesty. But is this enough? Is there enough to really carry a viewer away? Is there possibly a sense in the minds of many potential collectors that they could have done one of these themselves? As I see it, and there will be many who will disagree, this sort of work is really a bit too facile and too easy to do . . . While there are exceptions to this, the hard, cold facts tell us that only a few top workers are truly thriving. The competition is tough. To the admirable virtues of feeling and atmosphere, one needs to leverage skill, craft and a degree of hard-won cleverness that the average person on the street cannot easily attain. When you add a personal style that distinguishes you from the others, opportunistic gallerists are more likely to check you out. What's my point? So much of what we do with the camera can easily be done by someone else. Are we doing something that is uniquely our own? Is there "a personal style that distinguishes you (me) from the others?" I have no answers. And now I'm off, in an attempt to "leverage skill, craft, and a degree of hard-won cleverness" in my work. -- Carol Leigh

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One of my first photos

Looking through an old photo album, I found one of the first photos I ever took using a 35mm camera (a Pentax H1a). It's a black and white shot of a bird and it's awful. But there is a certain appeal in that I like the lean of the fence post, the echoing lean of the bird, and the way the foliage and the overexposed background frame the bird and silhouette it. This was taken in 1977. Yesterday I re-photographed the print, added texture, added warmth, played up certain elements, and made the whole thing look older than it was. Thirty-two years ago. That was the beginning. ©Carol Leigh