Seeking Perfection

PhotoEye Blog Interview

I was recently interviewed about the Seeking Perfection project for the PhotoEye blog. Here's a link to the interview. It's always a struggle to put into words the thought processes behind my work, but always a rewarding experience. This is because I find that I learn something different about my work and about my approach to making pictures when I either talk about it or write it down, than when I simply think about it. I really enjoy that sense of discovery as it helps to move me forward, even when I have long since completed a project.

Thoughts on Learning to See- #2

I worked solely in black & white until quite recently. It wasn't until I started the Seeking Perfection project that I began working in color. Until then, I didn't have a feel for it, didn't know what to do with it- I just didn't have a voice in color. I therefore find the following quote from John Jerome's book Stone Work really interesting: “By noon it has turned into an absolutely crystalline, deep-blue, clear-sky, windless February day, unimaginably clear and bright. The clarity comes, I believe, from the deepness of the blue above, its darkness…This morning the woods are wet again, and I can definitely see the pink haze. The woods are still basically gray, but you can pick up the tinge, the hue, of growth…When I come outdoors I see nothing but gray first, but the longer I look, the more color comes welling up. It’s as if my black-and-white eyes are being awakened from their winter sleep, as more color begins to appear in stuff that for the past three months I have dismissed as dead gray. This is wrong, of course, there’s always plenty of color, even in the snow... Maybe in deep winter I have, more or less despairingly, tuned it out.  Maybe true color is just another one of those other rich experiences out there that I never quite have.” (Jerome 194-195)

"Landscapes of the Mind" Show Opening

The final show that I have up during Fotofocus Cincinnati is "Landscapes of the Mind", which opened last Friday at the YWCA Women's Gallery on Walnut Street. Curated by Judi Parks, it is a look at how metaphor and symbolism has expressed itself through the photographs of Nancy Rexroth, Judi, and me. The show is up until January 10, 2013.

Both Nancy and I presented work that was culled from projects that had been thought complete. In her case, she went back into her negative archives that had resulted in her book "Iowa". Printed in the late '70's, "Iowa" became a defining body of work for anyone working with simple lenses or toy cameras. It legitimized them as a serious tool for the photographic artist. For the YWCA show, Nancy took another look at what she had shot back then, and presented a series of images that shed new light on that series.

In my case, I exhibited work that took a completely new look at what I had shot while in Japan a few years ago to photograph the process of apple growing in Aomori Prefecture. Rather than focusing on the process itself (as I had originally done when choosing the pictures of the "Seeking Perfection" series), I this time focused on the impact that the process had on the land and trees themselves. Amazing what you can discover about yourself and your work when you take another look.

Current Work-in-Progress

Although the Seeking Perfection project is presented on my website as if it were complete, I am currently in the midst of re-thinking and re-editing it. The first edit, the one that can be seen on the site, revolved around the process of traditional apple-growing in Japan, showing the tools and the steps involved over the course of the growing season. This new edit is focusing on the visible effects that this process has on the land, the trees, and the apples. Some images from the first edit are showing up in the second, while others are now being included that I never would have considered before.

I've never re-thought a project like this before, and am fascinated to be discovering things in the work that just hadn't been apparent to me prior to this. The new edit will be shown in an exhibit that will be part of Fotofocus Cincinnati in October, 2012.