Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peaks and Valleys

A friend, who directs the visual arts program in an anglophone community my wife and I belong to mentioned a wonderful photo-show at the Galerie Francois Mansart.  It features Patrick Alphonse's beautiful photogravure to Japanese rice paper images.

Nightshade Sister

I felt the rice paper was distracting in only a few of Patrick's prints.  Which meant, to me, that the balance of the show was very well done indeed.  I was particularly taken by an image of the island isolated Mont Saint Michel monastery sitting under a cloud filled storm gloomy sky.

The overall quality of the show was such that I was moved and inspired.

I asked the gallery keeper about the work.  He told me that M. Alphonse lives in the arrondisement and works quietly and in his own way.  He said it took him three months to convince the artist to hang a show in this gallery.

Miss Stephanie Lee

I left with the feeling that this interesting artist chose to work in relative obscurity.  It was shortly thereafter that something conspired to make me realize just how obscure my own path is.

Being "friends" on Facebook with models and creative people can be a two edged sword.  On the one hand, I can see what people are doing and participate in conversations and plan events and photoshoots.  On the other, I recently understood that I sometimes feel dejected when I see other photographer's and model's work.

It's strange, but after being contacted by models seeking to work with me, only to discover they soon found another photographer to work with, I have felt the odd sensation of being rejected.  How is it that I've become such a sensitive creature?  When did I start worrying about my images being "relevant", and to what or whom, exactly?  How can I let these feelings instill doubt about my own creative abilities?

Baron Samedi

The answer, for me, seems to lay in how I feel about my work.  Having avoided current "main stream" photographic studies in illustration, magazine, fashion, portrait, and commercial work, I realize that I have deliberately marginalized myself.  I choose subjects and themes that only small communities of creative people care about.

The steampunk, dark romanticism, and Gothic communities tend to be insular and small.  In these communities there seems to be a small number of artists willing to work with photographers such as myself.

Therein lies a conundrum.  Do I move my image making "look" and "feel" into the "main stream" and thereby gain access to a larger pool of photographic options?  Or do I try to hold on to ideas and enthusiasm while continuing to search and dig for the kinds of subjects and models I prefer?

Fleur de péché ~ Steampunk Lolita

I'm only guessing, but artists who choose to work in isolation must have the same kinds of questions I do.  For myself, I'd rather not be obscure, but seem presently powerless to move beyond this feeling.  Fortunately, feelings come and go and I know that sometime, hopefully soon, I'll be once again kicked into high creative gear and have all the tools and subjects I need to exit out of my present situation.

What's that quote about the darkest part of the night?

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