“He told the boy that although he was huerfano still he must cease his wonderings and make for himself some place in the world because to wander in this way would become for him a passion and by this passion he would become estranged from men and so ultimately from himself. He said that the world could only be known as it existed in men’s hearts. For while it seemed a place which contained men it was in reality a place contained within them and therefore to know it one must look there and come to know those hearts and to do this one must live with men and not simply pass among them. He said that while the huerfano might feel that he no longer belonged among men he must set this feeling aside for he contained within him a largeness of spirit which men could see and that men would wish to know him and that the world would need him even as he needed the world for they were one. Lastly he said that while this itself was a good thing like all good things it was also a danger. Then he removed his hands from the boy’s saddle and stepped away and stood.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke of the decisive moment. I’ve found in photography this decisiveness to be illusory. The climactic collaborative effort between myself and the world does not conclude at exposure, but rather reaches a fork in the road. From here a new set of challenges present themselves, not altogether independent from the decisive moment, but most certainly its own juncture.
The truth is, this version of Number Thirteen, Saint Paul, Minnesota is unlikely to be the last. It’s simply my most recent interpretation of the negative that will likely evolve over time.
A couple of perspectives on the same structure. An early Spring, midday stop for lunch near the car.
Nearly 2000 miles apart, and a years’ time in-between. Peculiar how we’re attracted to specific aspects of the landscape, drawn in and captivated while others pass them by without second thought. I once drove through the forest with an ex-partner, yearning to stop at each new bend in the road ahead. They hadn’t given it notice, anticipating the ocean to come.
The first image was printed a few months prior to the latter, the latter being a 2nd take for a portfolio I am putting together. The point being, had I limited myself to an artificially imposed number of prints I never would have had the opportunity to reevaluate my subjective choices in the print making process. Perhaps that is a limit I need and should abide by, perhaps not? Photography, using a negative, by its very nature is reproducible. Limiting the supply solely for the purpose of inflating value seems to me unethical or at the very least subject to deep introspection by the artist. It would seem to me the limits on life alone are a limiting enough factor in the supply of ones photographs. What do you think?
I feel as though I’m navigating through space, grounded to the present with a camera in hand while discovering something new in each step. A camera has solidified for me this practice, causing me to do this daily, with, or without a camera.
“When we’re talking about nothing more than the hunt for images without any preconceived idea, when there’s no question of a commission, when it’s a sort of tightrope-walking in which the present is re-invented at each new step and there is no motivation but the naive primal instinct of the hunter, where then is the ‘artistic purpose’?”
– Willy Ronis
“There were so many images of texture that dealt with pattern and repetition and layers…but there was one that wasn’t like the others. This one, the one I selected for first prize, seemed to be like a Modernist photograph, like something that would eventually influence the Bauhaus school: an image of iron stands with some writing on them set in the blazing sun carelessly and yet somehow arranged simultaneously.
This particular picture reminded me of a lesser known Ruth Bernhard photograph, the abstract photograph of the Life Savers candies standing on end casting shadows and indeterminate in size and scale. In the early twentieth century, photographers began producing images that were sharp in focus and had an emphasis on form, unlike the Pictorialists. They also starting using the camera as more of a mechanical and technological tool as well. I came across this simple and abstract image of a pile of iron stands revealing squares and rectangles with long black shadows cutting across the frame and I thought of some of the great photographers of the past and so this image resonated with me. Not just for the different way that the artist saw and captured this subject, but for the fact that the photograph itself conjured up the explorations, interests, and concepts of the Modernist photographers for me. I very much look forward to seeing what this artist will create next!”