Sunday, September 27, 2009

When you shoot, what do you shoot?

On our way out to the coast last week we stopped off at the Crescent Lake Lodge for lunch. (It was delicious, by the way, and very reasonably priced.) Initially we left our cameras in the car, but as we headed for the lodge we kept seeing beautiful sights like this one, and eventually we gave up and went back for our cameras.

I love the light in this image; it's so inviting. And though you could claim that this is a photograph of a rocking chair on a porch, for me it's a photograph of the invitation claimed by morning light. It's not as reductionist as the work I was shooting with Miksang, of course; a little busier, a lot of identifiable "things" in the picture. And I don't think of it as saleable really -- I just like it.

Which is one of the advantages of having this blog: I always know there's a place I can show the work that I like. It's not a place where I can sell my work, but I can at least put it out there so others can enjoy it. That's probably a good thing, because if I were only shooting what I know would sell, I'm not sure I'd be shooting very much, nor would I necessarily be shooting what I love.

It's tricky, being an artist, because almost by definition you live in a semi-permeable membrane. By which I mean you need to be very open to the world around you in order to be able to take it in, notice it, and reproduce it. But when you are that consciously open, you are also more vulnerable -- not just to hurt, but also to suggestion. Which means -- for me, at least -- that when I'm shooting knowing I have a show coming up, my work is influenced by my awareness of the gallery's expectations, and by a perceived responsibility to set myself apart from the other artists in the show. And when that happens, my work has a tendency to become less an expression of me and more an expression of my perception of what someone else wants.

Sigh. I love knowing that all my dark shadowy sides actually have a positive role to play in my life; that's been a very heartening revelation. What's less easy to deal with is the fact that all the good things, the things I like about myself, like openness, have these rather shadowy aspects that I have to deal with. Guess it means I have no choice but to stay as conscious as possible, alert to possibilities, aware of weaknesses and of the ways I may not be being true to myself.

Frankly, some days that's just exhausting.


Maureen said...


Your phrase "the invitation claimed by morning light" is beautiful, poetry.

I love your work, both your writing and your photographs. Not perhaps all of the latter, but many. You have such an eye that truly sees.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane ... it's so nice to hear your thoughts and see your images. This morning's post reminded me of this quote:
"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely divinely aware."
-- Henry Miller