Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lenswork Magazine

A few weeks ago LensWork Magazine issue #79 arrived. It sat nicely on the nightstand next to the bed waiting to be looked at.

There wasn't interest in it for me. I couldn't understand why since I've devoured every single issue up to this one.

Wood Duck - 2008

So I let the issue rest.

Last weekend I started to wonder about my response to the unread magazine. At first I thought it might be that I didn't like the work in this issue. But how could I say that? I'd not even cracked open a page. So that had to be a rationalization on my part.

Wood Duck - 2008

Whenever I catch myself in self deception, I try to stop and dig deeper. In this case I was looking for a better reason for not reading the latest issue.

As I let my awareness wander, I found that I was uncertain about the "success" that came from my In The Railyard work that had been published in LensWork Extended #78. What did it mean to be published by one of the finest photographic arts magazines in the world? What did it mean to me and my work that someone had found something I created to be nice enough to print? Why couldn't I understand what was going on?

Wood Duck - 2008

Even as I write, I remain surprised at how strong the feeling is that somehow I wasn't good enough.

Where the h*ll did that feeling come from? Why don't I feel my work is good enough? Why can't my work be as good as the next guys? Or am I pushing... pushing... pushing...??? For what? ... Oh... watch the next step... here comes the drive to do something even better... even more marvelous... bigger... grander...

Yikes! I need to put on the brakes. I really like some of my own work. Or do I?

What motivates me? If I'm being truthful, it is the act of creating and the attention I receive afterward. I love the process of figuring out what to say and how to say it. I like it when people comment on my work and I get to share my feelings about an image. I like to listen to what other people have to say. I enjoy the exchange. I enjoy following on-line forums devoted to art critique. I love looking through some of the millions of photos others have created and posted on Flickr.

Wood Duck - 2008

I am a complex beast with an insatiable urge to create, participate, engage, and share. I see that I am sensitive to the thoughts and comments of others. I am buffeted by a world I have little or no control over. I see that my mind can make up all kinds of stories meant to shape my view of the world.

I finally opened the LensWork magazine and found it was interesting. Brooks has yet another insightful editorial. Bill Joy has yet another fine closing piece. In between the editorials and scribblings I found some images were better than others to me. I even teased out a few ideas that might be worth exploring.

Being human is sometimes such a strange experience.