What a presumptuous title for me of all people, serial beginner of projects never to be completed. Regardless, I think I can stick to this one. At least for a decent amount of time.
The following are the notes I took shortly after the idea came to me.
What is It?
A body of work, (an archive) constantly growing, of simple images. Observations that individually and as a whole ask the question is this enough? [More on this later] Occasionally, I might include some writing, some explanation of the image, a question.
Books, print and digital, released as volumes growing in number for as long as possible.
- What is the interval? Weekly? Monthly? Annually?
- Do I create “best of” albums? [Monthly, Quarterly, Bi-annually, Annually?]
- Annual collections would be titled “Enough of […]”
- “Enough of [year]” – As though to say that the year is over, let it go, that’s enough. But also to say that these are all the explorations into “enough” – these are all the “enoughs” that I documented that year.
- Yes, I like this [whole] idea. Stick with it.
But What is it Really?
Photographs of anything and everything. Snapshots, in a way. Things that I feel compelled to document, that catch my eye, and by creating and sharing these documents I am asking the following:
- is this image enough?
- is this subject matter enough?
- is the amount of images/material enough?
- is the work/the value of the work enough?
- what actually is “enough?”
- what do we look for when defining “enough?” What are the parameters? Enough implies thresholds, landmark achievements, goals being met, momentum towards something. However, enough is a destination itself, a place of rest, appreciation, observation, contentment.
I am also drawing attention to:
- appreciating the beauty of everyday things
- slowing down
- the importance of observation
- the importance of experimentation
- considering if the “treatment” of the image and the subject is “enough”
- asking how quantity of output attributes perceived value of skill/work
- asking how quality of output attributes perceived value of skill/work
As a body of work:
- building a public document (archive) of (my) life, of (my) perspective.
- (As a photographer, this feels like all I can do.)
- As with any work, the individual images, the images as a whole, and the process are all the intended product and able to be spoken about together or as one.
Okay, and Why?
As technology increases, and as cameras continually get more and more capable, there seems to be some homogeneity of aesthetic being adopted by those in the photographic community both professional and hobbyists, commercial, fine art, etc… We have lost the joy found in viewing the simple image. We have every option at our disposal. Sensors that are capable of incredible ISO sensitivities mean that if we do not want to see a blurry image, we don’t have to, or we wont. I see this as playing into the overall expectations of comfort and perfection that society has these days, something that mirrors the overall sense of entitlement seen by each new generation. Images are beautiful even with their imperfections. Sometimes more so. Perfection has a sterility to it. A suffocating sense of contained, measured production that can flatten the sense that something actually happened during the creation of the image. The (nearly) perfect image is a visual product, a product of care and skill and alteration, and technology, and is to be admired in it’s own right. But an imperfect image is
a product a record of life being lived.
A camera in the hands of someone captures an image at 1/60th of a second. The lens does not have technology built-in to reduce blur caused by the photographer’s shaking hands, a powerful shutter, or the fact that the photographer or subject may have been in motion. There were factors outside of the machine that caused the photographer to have to make the image without adjusting for perfection. Life was happening. Are the colors beautiful? Does the motion add a sense of excitement? The fact that the image is too dark, or too bright, are these things bad? Are they evidence that something else was happening, or that the photographer was being absent-minded-a horrible phrase that really means focusing more on one thing than what should be focused on.
Bring back the blurry images. Bring back the soft focus. Bring back the out of focus, the barely discernible, the tilted horizon. Bring back the images that make you wonder why they were made. Bring back the images that don’t only show you things, but ask you questions. Bring back the images that seem unimportant. Bring back the life of photography by allowing for the life of the photographer to be as important as the image from the photographer.
- There are many, but those which come to mind immediately are:
- The images of Greg Girard [expand]
- The images (and below quote) of Gueorgui Pinkhassov
- “The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been”- Gueorgui Pinkhassov
- Images of the past that, to me, seem to have been good enough (indeed beautiful), but may have been frustrating in their limitations at the time
- The message in Tom Ang‘s book The Tao of Photography of working with what you have, working for flexibility of experience to enrich creativity, and of accepting the limitations and results of that experience.
So it really isn’t anything different than what every photographer does. But it will be something to put out into the world. Something I can feel comfortable putting out in the world. It might be lazy, as the criteria for editing the images is almost nonexistent. They just have to feel right. They have to express an emotion, maybe suggest a narrative.