I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to posting these earlier. Last weekend I finally got back in the dark room and studio. Some good friends came out to the house to visit us and I was able to convince them to sit for me. It was a welcome difference from inanimate objects and my parents, not that I don’t enjoy working with either. It’s just nice to have some different subjects with which to work every now and then.
My best friend since freshman year of high school, Heather, came out Friday. She obligingly let me dress her in strange (well not that strange I guess) outfits, wigs, and make up. She was my first human subject to shoot in the newly converted studio, which get’s lovely light as I’ve discovered. The only downside is that extended exposures are needed at the current time, which can sometimes make it hard for the subject to keep still. In hindsight, I should’ve used the posing stand, but was too caught up in trying to make as many plates as possible in the fleeting light I had (there were storms on the way) and spending time with an old friend I haven’t seen in over half a year. All in all, though, I was pleased with the efforts. Even the plates where she moved came out looking cool. I’ve learned that this is not an exact science. There are far too many variables, and there is no such thing as the perfect image, and one can like an image that isn’t necessarily spot on.
Here are the plates I made with Heather:
Saturday our lovely family friends Robin and Jerry came to share a low country boil and peach cheesecake with us. Robin also sat for me. Unfortunately Jerry didn’t make it over until yet another storm was moving in and the light was quite disappeared. Out of four shots, I got two of Robin that pleased me. It was also great to spend time with the two of them and their lovely pup, Flash.
I’m lucky that I’ll get to see Robin again on Wednesday as well as one of my other favorite friends, Laura, when we go see the Death Cab show in Nashvegas. I am very much looking forward to that as a last hurrah before school starts back up.
Today I got back in the studio to play a little bit. I didn’t do much but did turn out a couple of interesting images. At least, I think they’re interesting.
So there’s my latest work. I’m afraid this is the only place aside from my Flickr account (I would post the link but it’s a bit of a work in progress at the moment) or my house where they can be viewed. I don’t post on Facebook because they claim the rights to photos. I can’t have that.
I also wanted to take the time here, while I’m in this vein, to discuss a little artistic dilemma I’ve been having lately. A bit of a politically themed squabble on a Facebook group for wet plate photographers I am part of prompted me to finally set these feelings down. It’s not really related to what was going on there, but my thought processes as a result took me back to this problem I’ve been wrestling with for a while now. I own a business that, as of now, makes its most revenue through Civil War reenactment wet plate work in large part so that I may afford to do the artistic wet plate work that I want to do on my own time. I don’t see what I do at events as artistic. It’s mostly a novelty for people, and is not challenging or particularly innovative for me as an artist. This carries some issues itself, but the main one I struggle with is the fact that through my business, I am pulled into a community that I am not so sure I want to be associated with. Unfortunately, a small group within the larger group have given the whole a bad taste in certain circles mouths. Some of those circles are ones of which I count myself a member.
When I work CW events, I’m there for two reasons. The first is to educate the public something about which I am deeply deeply passionate. I love the history of photography. I love it so much, I want to find a way to devote my professional life to it. The second reason I am there is, as much as it pains my bohemian spirit to say, make money. I know everyone’s money spends the same, and I know that at the end of the day if I’ve imparted one bit of knowledge about the subject that I love in the mind of one person I’ve done a good day’s work, but sometimes, especially in the climate our country is in right now, it is hard to see that surrounding myself in a subculture which so often seems to clash with my own ideals is worth it. I know not every reenactor holds political views diametrically opposed to mine. I really do, and I know personally that I am not trying to recreate a time that seems better than the one we’re in for whatever reason. In fact, I agree with my favorite history professor from undergrad who thinks that that time was just as politically crazy and fucked up as our current time. Maybe it’s enough that I know that, and maybe I shouldn’t care if people wrongfully place me in the same group as those with whom I do not agree.
As I said I am conflicted, and most of this probably does not make sense to those outside of my own head. I certainly do not mean to offend anyone. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs whatever they maybe, and I have always respected that. I just don’t want to be pegged as something I am not because of what I choose to do professionally in such insane times especially. Unfortunately, politics worms its way into everything including, as several on that Facebook posting noted, art. Maybe I’m being paranoid and feeling like I’ve sold out when I really haven’t. Or maybe this is a legitimate worry. Being an artist is never easy no matter what your leanings concerning anything are, and maybe when it’s all said and done all that matters is what you know is you, down in your core, your essence, your soul, and fuck what anyone else thinks.
I need to think on this more…
Also, one final note: Looking back over this post prior to publishing and thinking back to previous posts, I realize I use, erm, less than ladylike language sometimes. I really am sorry if this puts anyone off. However, there is a reason. Since this is a semi-personal blog, I write how I speak, and my speech usually contains an obscenity now and then. I don’t believe in censoring myself, and, well, if it bothers someone too much, they can stop reading. I just thought I would explain my reasoning behind my choice of language for anyone who wondered.