This past week I went out of my comfort zone and joined some friends who were attending a Star Trek convention. Yes, I’m a fan…while I like the show…it hasn’t played a meaningful part in my life. I thought I knew what to expect, but the experience went beyond that. What did surprise me was the generosity of spirit at the event - everyone was super friendly. It was a bit unnerving to see Star Fleet personnel sitting at Guy Fieri’s or in an elevator - almost as if there had been a rip in reality and this fantasy space was seeping through.
A big part of it what really fascinated me were the fans … I found myself especially interested in the couples that I saw there. Not only were each of them passionate fans, it was a part of their relationship. The couple pictured above were the first that really caught my eye. They were just parked along the walkway and I asked if I could take their portrait. It’s not a great shot…but I do feel it captures a bit of who they are. Normally, I’m not that type of photographer and have avoided street work because it can be too easy to manipulate people visually. After this experience, my goal for next time is to do a project on couples. I’m interested in those relationships and how it interacts with fandom.
“It’s hard to write about nothing” Patti Smith
I’ve been re-reading “M Train” and that line has stuck with me. Of course, she’s not really writing about “nothing” - her nothing is the stuff of our everyday existence. It is the “doing” of how we move through time and our life. I’ve always felt that you must love the “doing” of whatever art-form you end up pursuing. Photographers are constantly taking photographs…whether they have a camera or not. We are captured by the light, or an expression, or the way a set of lines converge or cut the sky into pieces. We are passionate about a cause and how to best express / sequence / present it. It is in the “doing” that we spend our time as creatives - and I think it’s true about life in general.
My latest “doing” continues to be the animated shorts. While the set has placed itself in the same original image, the process is changing. Now the path has evolved towards sound. Initially it seemed logical that each should have a soundtrack - but when I added music, it changed the visual…made it too pretty. So, instead of music, sounds have become interesting - using them as a narrative that guides and supports the visuals. Each segment is starting with a “sounds” track, which I listen to with my eyes closed…visualizing the imagery that will be laid in later.
With the current set (screen capture above), I’m using rain and the modulation of the images to feel like you’re slipping in and out of this experience. At a recent art talk by Betty Ann Brown, I was taken with how she explored the difference between Art and Commerce. Commerce, (to paraphrase), is a set point that’s easily consumed and has a specific defined effect in mind. With Art…it’s much more vague as you shift into evocation, the unknown, the unsettled, the unresolved…which is where I seem to be heading.
Over the past several years I’ve spent a lot of time (actually wasted a lot of time) thinking about my website and how best to update it. It’s interesting that what starts as an asset - meets our needs and has a lot of excitement attached to it - over time can morph into a barrier to change. Because I knew how, I’d built my website from scratch and it worked really well…until it didn’t. Then, those skills became a box that I found myself in. Because I knew how many problems there could be in the process of changing - I froze.
One of the big issues was dealing with my email…you can’t take the past with you when you move hosts…so I had to face, that at the worst, I might lose my entire history. Yes, I’ve tried archiving them, but more than that, I’d had to face the fact that the digital environment isn’t really interested in saving my past. That’s the truth with our digital images as well - my film archives are fairly stable - assuming that fire or earthquake don’t get ‘em, I’ll still have all of those negatives decades from now. But my digital images…those maybe a different story…and maybe that’s ok.
On the super+ side, it’s been so much easier to treat the site as a living organism and post whenever I want. The best part is adding my new love… animation - I am transfixed by the process of adding time, events and sound to my still images. A friend (thank you Jonna) remarked that what was unusual about my animations is how they contrast from my still images, which are very quiet and still. It actually took me a while to realize in the animations that I could allow nothing to happen for a bit…allow the viewer to settle into the scene before something happened. It’s good to have a new road to journey on.