Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I am in the process of

putting together an application for Review Santa Fe. I have never liked having to explain an image and felt that any image that needed explanation was a failure. The closest I have come to putting words to my pictures comes from the T is silent:

"love the cacti from el paso on the blog - i can feel the search your on in this photo and some of the others from reno - this "quest" is very earnest and it shows in the photos. When these photos are working(the cacti definitely is), as a viewer, i feel i'm wandering, searching for nothing important and at the same time the most important thing, meaning. steven shore and alec are great but i see a yearning in these images of yours that is inthralling - A professor of mine explained the deference between documenting or illustrating a project and embodying an idea or concept- the difference between lauren greenfield documenting kids and jim goldberg or larry clark embodying their projects. this difference seemed barely noticeable at first but the more i looked at photos i could start to tell the difference- the embodied works were the ones where i felt something, they were the books i checked out again and again, i think your work is on this path, very exciting. i commend your search and hope you are finding what you are looking for -"


Scott Lessing said...

I agree, it can pretty challenging to write a description, especially as I prefer to communicate with images rather than words, hence my being a photographer and not a writer. My review for the Santa Fe Review took several revisions to get "close" to what I was intending. It would be nice if the photos could simply speak for themselves, hopefully they do!

Timothy Archibald said...

Yah, good stuff from The T Is Silent.

I always thought this whole stance that photographers often take, stating that they don't want to discuss their work was totally lame and encouraged the idea that photographers were a bunch of cavemen with 200mm lenses around their necks.

Trying to write a statement is a good way to try to gather one's thoughts as to why they are doing whatever it is they are doing. It can help answer some questions, which is sometimes the hardest part of getting a project off the ground. And then to have all you bloggers out there claim that you are "a photographer, not a writer", come on! Most of you are writing more than photographing, I betcha.

Scott Lessing said...

I see your point Timothy, but blogging is an offhand, informal writing manner. I know for myself, blogging is something I do every other day at most and it seems many photographers who blog post at the same rate, so it seems doubtful most are writing or blogging more than they photograph.

A basic project statement can be good and probably even necessary for a photographer to shape their approach and thoughts. But many photographers are laconic about their work, Eggleston is that way, Christopher Morris’s book had basically a one sentence statement and I think both are far from caveman status. But explaining an image, as Thomas described, is harder because if it is necessary for a viewer to understand then the photo fails because either it doesn’t communicate the message or the viewer is let off too easy by not having to figure it out. Either way, the image fails.

Anonymous said...

c'mon Timothy, I see your name posted in Thomas' blog more than just about anyone else. I hope you're still picking up your camera.

Don Giannatti said...

I think it is easier to write about someone else's images easier than my own. Maybe it is because I project on the other image rather than sit and try to reflect on my own. I can extemporaneously speak about my stuff, but writing is so hard.

Maybe it is the myriad of thoughts that go through our minds when we are setting up an image... how do we transfer that to words in a linear manner.

Back in music school I was asked why I had ended a piece on a very stressed, dissonant chord. So many reasons that would sound trite and silly linearly came flooding out. The professor sat there for a minute and said, "because you wanted it to sound that way?"

Yeah... that's it.

Robert Holmgren said...

The best photos are made so because they defy narrative. Resist the temptation to dumb down vision by making it conform to mere words. Shame on photography organizations for encouraging the primacy of written communication.