Saturday, March 14, 2009

me, me, me...

"but i agree about the future test in showing something that's not all about me, me, me."

The above is a quote from one of the posters on Burn Magazine. He wasn't referring to my essay but he might have been. Yes, nine months of pointing the camera at oneself can easily deteriorate into navel-gazing. I was just lucky that I started my "Active Elders" photo project at the Hannan Center for Senior Learning just two days after my self portrait series. They've been running concurrently and I think that has saved me from getting too focused on "me, me, me." Sometimes, though, I've felt like a juggler trying to keep one too many balls in the air.

Right now both projects are coming to a climax of sorts. The exhibition of "Active Elders"--of which you can see a tight edit on my website--is opening on March 27. The gallery curator and I start hanging the show next Thursday, March 19. On Monday I'll be picking up the last six mounted prints at the camera store. The show includes 41 prints--12"x18"--mounted on foamcore. There will also be a wall of 85-90 small 4"x6" prints.

My challenge has been to choose photos that show as many of the participants in the Hannan House classes as possible, while keeping a close eye on quality. It has not been easy. But that's why I'm adding the small prints--just so everyone will be seen. And I also wanted to keep my print prices low enough so that folks could afford to buy them. That's where the foamcore came in. It really looks quite good, though, so the artist in me is satisfied.

The photo-taking phase of my self portraits essay--"Falling Into Place"--is also in its final month. By now it's not easy to come up with new ideas but I'm doing my best. This morning I made yet another attempt at photographing myself getting out of bed. I've been working at this since my very first day of shooting and was not yet satisfied. This one might work, though. I like the lighting. It kind of makes the whole thing look a bit mysterious, which to me is a plus. I'm trying to avoid overly-obvious shots, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Gosh, long-term projects are a challenge. Trying to stay edgy can be almost impossible. For me anyway. I often find myself sliding into a narrative, storytelling mode that borders on the obvious, and that's not what I want. I want visual poetry. Easier said than done.


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