It is said that a photo speaks 1000 words. I remember being at opening receptions for my work. I would walk around and listen to people talking about the photos. Sometimes I heard very interesting comments. Sometimes someone would ask me why I made a photo and others asked how I made a photo. Still others asked what the body of work was about. Maybe I am just not educated enough to answer in a very elegant manner. I’m not being Fa cesious at all but honest.
After the opening and I spent time thinking and feeling about the experience, I would reflect back at the comments I heard or was asked. Not because I wanted to remember the comments but because of how they made me think. I would continue to work and just be intense doing so but inside, I was searching for answers. Remembering the answers I gave to the people that asked me questions at the event but really struggling to find a resolution for myself. Perhaps these answers would only dwell inside me and never find the light of day. I wondered if that was even an acceptable solution.
So if a photo speaks 1000 words, maybe there is no reason for any words after it. I disagree. I believe that the value and intent of a photo changes with time. We like to think that when we make a photo, it is like an anchor for our thoughts, feelings and intent. Well, perhaps this is true but like it or not, the value and intent of the photo will change. It is not nor ever an anchor. It it just a catalyst to launch feelings, thoughts etc in the here and now and as that here and now changes thru time and life. This challenged every belief and thought about photography. I wondered if I was wrong but in due time, I realized I was right. Let me say this. What is right for me may not be for you.
So I realize that my duty is to make photos. It’s what my life is about. Nothing less. My deceased friend Peter told me….”you make the photos and let others talk about them”. Well, I listen to Peter but that doesn’t dissolve the thoughts I keep inside. I was anxious to know what I was doing and why. I also knew and know that the pursuit of the answers I sought would and will detract from the work I do.
What I noticed mostly with collectors and curators etc. They look at the photos and say very few words. Then I see that I made the photos but longed for the words. I felt that if there was 1000 words living in the photos, I wanted to know those words. I felt outside of what I was doing. They became the connection to the work I was and am responsible for.
Not so quickly and maybe not even yet, I realized that photos are more personal then I believe. The catalyst called the photo allows and supports different feelings and thoughts from each individual viewer. Even then, that can and all will change with the passing of time.
I do know somethings. I know that many people comment and understand my work. I don’t. I don’t act like I do either. All I can do is follow my instincts and make the next photo. I long to understand what and why I’m doing it but I can’t grasp it. All I can do is make the photos and love them as a part of me. Others can talk if they choose but the words spoken or thoughts will have little or no effect on my continuing. I make photos because I have to. I make photos because it’s my life’s work.
I make photos for the moment of the memory and the memory of the moment. Do I understand why and what I’m doing. Maybe in part but not in full. Do I want to have such a strong understanding of what and why I am doing it? Well, I think not. I feel some kind of satisfying completeness making photos. I don’t understand them too much. I guess if I did, I’d have no more reason to make them and that scares the crap out of me. There are a million reasons to make photos and not one single good reason to stop.