Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Light and shadow
Coincidentally a professional photographer that I once contracted years ago, called me today during a brief photo session I was trying to get done while the babe slept. He's a nice guy by all accounts. Chatty and quite convinced of the integral role the photographer plays in an artist's success in grants, submissions and print media. I don't disagree having sat on grant and gallery submission juries in the past. I just have to think of the painter I saw this past weekend at an art sale quickly photographing her paintings on a cheap digital camera in the partial shade of a wind blown tree while holding the paintings in one hand, camera in the other. Sigh.
Now I know I'm no photographer extraordinare, but i like to think i'm past the days of my first set of slides in my undergrad when i set up a neutral grey cloth on my parents dinning room table, closed the beige hanging curtains behind and took some of the most shockingly nasty images of my god awful brown pots. And while i do love the print standard lighting and backdrop that is seen in each craft and ceramic magazine, i sometimes long for something different. Sure a standard is a good thing, but it's sorta like putting your art on a plinth and expecting the world not to see that plinth. Everything has an impact on how the object is viewed.
I've been making different pots lately, more organic ones than before, loose forms that mold their shape more with the folds of a hand, with lips that aim to take the eye for a wander, with simple surfaces that beckon you to remember simpler times, nostalgic old prairies scenes, the smells and light of an old farm house in the spring.
And i'm finding that the sterile environment of the fading backdrop and perfect light don't speak to these ideas I have for the vessels. I'm not sure how to resolve this as the world of galleries, grants and media seem to want a standard by which to level the playing field so that the good will rise up. I on the other hand just want to play. To show the objects in context, in light and shadow, to show them in use. But without it being a cheezy looking ad with happy beautiful people holding ceramic cups, and without the blur of my hand held camera as i shoot an image of my work in the park before a sale in the shade of a tree with the grass as a backdrop.