Thursday, February 7, 2008
I am obsessed with images and spend far too much time looking through websites, but there are so many good images available that I can't stop. Not long ago, I would have to go to libraries and bookstores and look through their atrophied collections hoping for something new. There was a benefit in that, of course. You looked at each photograph longer and more often, and I probably learned more from the images then. But I don't know. I am stricken by what is available on the internet.
Today I came across a site called "take this pill" (http://takethispill.wordpress.com/). The photographs were interesting enough, but what set the hook was the combination of the images and the writing. Short, tormented, pithy. The persona (I know better than to say the photographer) seems torn between going mad and doing what he thinks he wants to do and staying sane enough to only want to do it. I ask my students if they wan to be artists, and then I ask them if they are willing to live that life.
That is the reason this site sucks. I am able to take a good photograph from time to time, but I am not ready to give up what I have to do it all the time, over and over again, shunning all mediocrity and safety and criticism informed by the same. I want to. . . I'd like to. . . but I don't. Rather, I get up each morning and resist going to my job all the while going, smiling a failed debutante's smile like a would be homecoming queen, telling myself that I'm subverting the system, collapsing at night in my home, surrounded by the artifacts and totems of a better life, art on the walls, collections of great books, antique furniture, ancient rugs, and talismans of all kinds, hoodoo of another life, not the life of a factotum.
Such photographers are everywhere on the internet, people who can make a good image from time to time but who, for whatever reason, are not given over to it. Maybe art is only for the very young and the very old and the rest of the time we are merely appreciators and critics.
I will have more to say about web critics tomorrow if I can sustain the madness. Meanwhile, I will post an old image of the sort of thing that I should not post if I want to be taken seriously. No, I will post two, one of the sort of thing that I should be doing and one that I shouldn't if I don't want trouble.