AUGUST, 2012 UPDATE
With just over four months to go on this picture/day project, I have to confess it’s more time consuming and challenging than I ever anticipated. In the beginning, I floated on the excitement and sense of wonder I found in reclaiming my original love of photography. Now, as I try not to repeat myself or take the easy way out, the pressure to produce on a daily basis is felt more keenly.
I spend considerable time in my home office and it was in this domestic environment that I found much of my early subject matter. I remember thinking that if I hadn’t taken any pictures by 5:00 pm, not to worry, there would always be some nice play of natural light in the dining room, or some household object to be seen with fresh eyes, to fill my Pixetera quota with. In June, I stopped being so cavalier, concerned that I’d exhausted all photographic possibilities within the house. That happens not to be true — as I’m surprised to discover from time to time — but it does call for contingency planning and pushing the envelope of my image making.
The town I live in is pleasant enough with its manicured lawns, well-kept but architecturally undistinguished homes, and a few nondescript shops and businesses. It sits in the middle of preserved open space, and astride a historic canal and narrow, meandering river. My camera and I have traipsed everywhere, leaving our footprints behind on this site. At this point though, I look forward to excursions that take me beyond its borders: gritty or picturesque it definitely isn’t — not that the latter holds much appeal to me as a photographer.
I earn my living now facilitating art making and improvisational creative play for seniors with diminished capabilities. I call the work ElderSparks and derive great pleasure from the ways it and Pixetera complement and inspire each other. Materials that I use in my classes and workshops have ended up in images for Pixetera. Photographic endeavors have laid the foundation for ElderSparks projects. The two blend together in feeding my creativity and imagination.
One thing I’ve learned over the last six months is how enamored I am of mesh, netting, and any type of screen or see-through material. Time after time, I come back to it as a visual element in my images. Apart from the texture it adds to the frame, it reveals and conceals simultaneously. Two other dichotomies I’ve noticed in my work as a whole: (1) alternating between a formal, minimalist beauty and imagery that is busy or even discomforting; and (2) a subdued, monochromatic palette vs. bold, primary colors. If I’m spending too much time in one particular place, I get kind of antsy and have to reverse direction.
Three unexpected fringe benefits of Pixetera: (1) the additional physical exercise I get while exploring a particular location with camera in hand; (2) using errands and long waits at scheduled appointments as opportunities for picture taking; and (3) being exposed to the beautiful work of other bloggers.
Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll breathe a big sigh of relief when on New Year’s Day, 2013, I realize I don’t have to take any pictures. Instead, I hope to start working on a book of these photographs.
August 19, 2012