notes

Thoughts on the process I

Thoughts on the process

I don't always have the poetry in mind when I shoot pictures. Some pictures I take simply because I can see the symbolic value they have for me, others I just shoot because they interest me somehow. As I edit and alter the photos, however, it seems the purposefully taken ones never seem to work out as well as the random ones. I am just taking and editing pictures to gather a pool to draw from when I am really ready to write and make a cohesive storyline. I keep wondering how much the story in my head is going to deviate when I complete the pictures.

I resisted digital photography for so long, and thought editing beyond cropping and taking the red eye out was damn near criminal. When I first got into shooting pictures, I had some little, long lost, Kodak camera that took those cheesy panoramic shots. I don't even remember what sort of film it used, but I did like the black and white, and I was pleased with the pictures. I have always been a very make-due sort of person, poverty necessitates it, so when John gave me his digital camera, I was determined to use it to it's maximum potential. All of these pictures have been shot with a Canon PowerShot SD 500. Then I found a web based photo editor, Picnik, which really changed the way I felt about digital editing. I was able to bring all the photos that I imagined to fruition, and stop feeling like I was, well...cheating.

reactions


I am really enjoying the strong, sometimes visceral, reactions that some of these photos are evoking in people. It's not simply "Oh, that's nice," it's more along the lines of "Oh, my God!" So far, my favorite reaction has been that these pieces are "disarming."

I have previewed some of this work to a few close friends whose opinions I respect enormously. A few of them simply never considered photography an art form before...and these are people who make art for a living. It's really fun to make some converts along the way.

bringing it all together

In the beginning stages of this project, it's interesting to see how the photography inspires the poetry and vice versa. I wanted to combine the two mediums into a narrative of depth that I didn't feel I could achieve with only one or the other.

More and more I see how a particular photo brings to mind some of my unfinished poetry. Like any poet, I have so many pieces that I have started, stopped, revised, or forgotten, just little fragments of my brain left behind. I am feeling that being able to combine an image may do more justice to some of these poems than words alone could.

One poetry piece, in particular, I have struggled with over the course of a year.  I just couldn't figure out how to evoke the images I was looking for with words alone.  I went out one evening to shoot in a cemetery, and seeing some of the beautiful and haunting sculpted headstones recalled that piece. I was able to see that with one picture, I could set the entire scene and boil that poem down to it's essence. I think this is all working out better than I originally planned.

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