Monday, November 26, 2012

The Process Is Everything.

When I was a young man playing the violin was my greatest passion. I couldn't imagine going through a day without having the instrument in hand - whether practicing on my own, rehearsing with an ensemble, taking a lesson, or performing. It didn't matter why, only that it happened. Indeed, I couldn't imagine my life without the violin. Playing still gives me pleasure, as does teaching. My need t probe and explore myself still drives me forward. But my instrument has changed and the medium for exploration has changed from aural to visual. Now I have my camera, but the process is the same.

A quote from Art & Fear : 'If artmaking did not tell you (the maker) so enormously much about yourself, then making art that matters to you would be impossible. To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers' concerns are not your concerns (although it's dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes.) Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing of it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work ..... The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.' 

When I played the violin it was making the music with the instrument that was important - to hone my technique, to rehearse with the ensemble and make beautiful music. The performance was to make money to pay for groceries and clothes. And so too with photography. My 'bliss', as Joseph Campbell would call it, is to have the camera out on the streets and make the connections with the people I see around me, grab that slice of time that says something special to me. When I have gallery shows it's to sell images - to pay for groceries and clothes.

This photo, which I titled Stupido! happened this past Saturday. I heard the woman's Italian vitriol half a block away. The hand gestures say it all.