May 132009

I am presently trying to complete my printing from the 2008 shooting season. This is keeping me quite busy and I am not posting as often as I would like. This post will be mostly images. Writing does not always come easily, at times it is as if I am trying to say everything in one fell swoop; not taking the time to let the narrative unfold, let the idea come through in the words.

As this year’s printing draws to a close, I am starting to think more and more about what the edited suite of photographs will look like. This can serve two purposes; firstly, it encourages me to continue working and plugging away at the subject matter. Secondly, it will make this second season of shooting more efficient as I will hopefully have a quicker sense of what I am looking for as I arrive on a new site.

This second effect can be dangerous. An ever-present risk for an artist is the possibility of getting ahead of an idea. Thinking that one knows what one s looking for can lead to imposing meaning on a subject; effectively taking away the subjects voice in the process. This is something I am constantly struggling with what I am working with a more “documentary” approach.

Contemporary culture’s obsession with “the documentary” is rife with the conflict between “truth” and “opinion”. The concept of objectivity has been central to the discourse of the photographic image since its invention. It has shifted from total objectivity to total subjectivity with very few stops in between. Like in many things, the objective and the subjective are two poles with an infinite number of grey zones in-between. As surfaces they can even overlap as is described in “Mille Plateaux”, Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s landmark exploration of the schizophrenic impulse in contemporary society. But I digress.

The tension between giving voice to the subject and allowing one’s subjectivity to interact with it is often where all the interest lies in a work of art. A truly engaging piece of work will inevitably play the ideas off of each other and invite the viewer to add more levels of interpretation to the mix.

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