Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Revisiting



I've got an exhibition coming up this year, which means I've been going back over my prints, my books, this blog, and my backfiles, looking for images that I both still like and which I think others will find rewarding to look at, printed, framed, and hung on a big white wall.

This is harder work than you might think, and not particularly enjoyable.  I have tried to regard myself as a species of artist, rather than just some bloke with a hobby, and the main point and pleasure in that has been the constant exploration and the sense of going forwards.  To look backwards is to see nothing but a pile of failed attempts, lost opportunities, and contrived, pretentious fumblings after significance.  It's like the worst morning-after ever.  Did I really do that, say that?  Oh, God, what was I thinking?

Still, it has its rewards, too.  In the last year or so I've learned a lot about the mechanics of image-processing and printer output, and am a far better printer than I ever used to be.  Rediscovering overlooked older work, and re-processing it from the original RAW files (the "digital negatives") to my current standards has redeemed this tedious and humbling task, at least enough for me not to get on the phone: "Sorry, I'm an impostor, you've confused me with someone else -- the show's off".  So far, anyway.

9 comments:

Zouk Delors said...

I like these images. May I suggest a title for the first: The British Isles, As Seen From A Space-Farm At Some Time In The Future?

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Exactly! I'm glad someone else sees that -- I sometimes wonder whether anyone's eyes except mine ever see the non-literal interpretation.

Thanks,

Mike

Dave Leeke said...

Well, in the words of Charlie Brown, I saw a horsie and a duckie but I've changed my mind.

Mike C. said...

Dave,

As it happens, I also see a horse under attack by two lions, though I could easily be persuaded there's a duck in there somewhere.

Mike

Andrew Sharp said...

We've had the same oily scum on one of our ponds as well. Too many bacteria and not enough plants.

I got a sheet of clean printer paper and dropped it onto what I thought was the most interesting bit. It came out in shades of grey but the paper was a bit wavy. That's what happens when you dry it on a hedge.

I think that you can keep a hobby to yourself but to do that with art would somehow be perverse. You create something and then want to show it to people. Isn't that it?

Mike C. said...

Andy,

Sounds like you should check out the work of a photographer I admire very much, Susan Derges. She literally immerses sheets of photo-sensitive paper into river-water and at the seashore at night, and develops the (stunning) result.

Never sure about the "showing it to people" bit. I quite enjoy trickling work out via the blog and books that nobody buys, but a full-on gallery show goes against the grain -- for a show-off, I'm quite introverted, I suppose...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

You are only an artist as long as you believe you are one. Or as B.B.King sang (and as I may have mentioned in these pages before): "Don't look down if you wanna keep on flying".

Andrew Sharp said...

I think there's a difference between self promotion and making something available for those that want to find it.

A recent Radio 4 item on getting published suggested that the first thing that's looked at by many publishing houses is how many followers you have on Twitter. This clearly works against some of us..

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Hmm, cryptic. The "self esteem" movement has a lot to answer for, though I do realise you're *not* saying, "You are an artist if you believe you are" (or at least, I hope that's not what you're saying).

Personally, I do not suffer from lack of self-belief -- just consider the extraordinary cornucopia of self-motivated creativity you are currently looking at. Quite something, though I say it myself. I'm just allergic to self-promotion -- English self-deprecation, and all that.


Andy,

True. Also, publishers know nothing. Evidence? How hard it is to find a good book to read.

Mike