Sunday, January 6, 2019

Inner Journey - Looking back at August 2018

Reconnecting - Poetry and Photography

There's a thread running through the books I've been reading, books about being an artist. The word, artist, scares me, invites me, challenges me, to enter into that place of not knowing where art comes from. August 2018 was a turning point month. Looking back from January 2019.

James Baldwin - Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems

At O'Hare, on my way to New York to spend a week visiting my mother in Manhattan, I found this gem in Barbara's Bookstore, itself a gem in the sprawling airport.
Larry Wolf,
O'Hare Blues for Jimmy

James Baldwin was outspoken his whole life. This collection of poems speaks to the multiple tiers of aggression he faced as a black man and as a gay man. The writing is direct and pulls no punches. It is evocative and drew me into his world.

James Baldwin: Staggerlee wonders

Nigger, read this and run!
Now, if you can't read,
Run, anyhow!
That's right.
Up to our ass in niggers
on Death Row
What is it that this people
cannot forget?

Surely, they cannot be so deluded
as to imagine that their crimes
are original?
Then, perhaps they imagine
that their crimes are not crimes?
creation yearns to re-create a time
when we were able to recognize a crime.
Lord, History is weary
of her unspeakable liaison with Time,
for Time and History
have never seen eye to eye:
Time laughs at History
and time and time and time again
Time traps History in a lie.
Ah! Kinsmen, if I could make you see
the crime is not what you have done to me!
It is you who are blind,
you, bowed down with chains,
but, now, 
rejoicing ends, man, a price remains to be pay,
your innocence costs too much
and we can't carry you on our books
or our backs, any longer: baby,
find another Eden, find another apple tree, 
somewhere, if you can,
and find some other natives, somewhere else,
to listen to you bellow
till you come, just like a man, 
but we don't need you,
are sick of being a fantasy to feed you, 
and of being the principal accomplice to your crime:
for, it is your crime, now, the cross to which you cling,
your Alpha and Omega for everything.

James Baldwin: Munich, Winter 1973 (for Y.S.)

In a strange house,
a strange bed
in a strange town,
a very strange me
is waiting for you.


It may, of course, 
be the other way around:
Columbus was discovered
by what he found.

James Baldwin: Confession

Terry, the torn,
wishes he'd never been born
because he was found sucking a cock
in the shadow of a Central Park rock.

James Baldwin: Untitled

   when you send the rain,
   think about it, please,
   a little?

   not get carried away
   by the sound of falling water,
   the marvelous light
   on the falling water.
   am beneath that water.
   It falls with great force
   and the light

   me to the light.

My Thoughts

living life
feeling, loving
feeling the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
the love in men's eyes... and loins
finding connection across divides
one person at a time
one day at a time

David duChemin - Soul of the Camera: the photographer's place in picture making 

This book showed up last August, on that same trip to New York. I was obsessing about buying or not buying a new camera. The book was an Amazon suggestion while I was looking for something else. It was a suggestion which has changed me over the past five months as I explored the themes in the book.

The Soul of the Camera cover image
David duChamin, The Soul of the Camera (2017)

"It is we who put the humanity, the vision, and the poetry into our photographs."

Larry Wolf, Flowers for Maxi (2018)
So begins The Soul of the the Camera. That's it. the whole book in one sentence. The rest is embellishment.

"I want to make art. I want to experience it. ... I ask, Does it have soul? Is it alive? Do I see something of the artist within? Does it move me? Does it make me think? Does it challenge me? Does it enrich my human experience?"

Some photographs we connect with on a deep level.
Deeper More Compelling Photographs.
Successful photographs. Not good. Not bad.

What does it means for an image to be successful?

David duChemin advocates for sketch images. This one, the next one, keep with the moment, see what comes next, keep photographing until it's over, until it's more than over. Then look at what resulted and see how it resonates in the now after the making is over.

Work from our being as artists, birthing process of creativity. This is too important to take seriously.

The craft will always matter... and yet.

"I want work to be authentic."

Not be creative but do creative.

Original relates to origin... authentic... real... a reflection of who I am, what I'm thinking, what I'm exploring

surrender... to creativity itself...

Curiosity is the gateway drug

Photography is a lens I see life through. 

Mastery is the path we take in our art making.

No comments:

Post a Comment