Park Bench, Queenstown, New Zealand © Emily Shur 2008
This weekend Photo LA comes to Santa Monica, and of course, I will be there. I love gallery exhibitions, the printed photograph, and seeing how a photographer chooses to frame their work. There are some lectures I am looking forward to, and I loooove the photo book booths, book signings, booksellers, and publishers. I’m sure I’ll spend more money than I should on books, but whatever. It’s a write off, right? One goal of mine this year is to make some headway with my personal work. I plan on applying to reviews and sending out some mailers to galleries. I also do a lot of research on what the fine art world seems to respond to.
The biggest obstacle I think I continually face is that my work is not, has never been, and might never be project oriented. I have such a hard time with the “project”. Other people do it so well, and I just can’t seem to express myself in that way. Why can’t we just take pictures? I always feel as though there’s supposed to be some deeper meaning behind my pictures, a meaning other than “Something inside me connected with what I saw in front of me, so I pulled out my camera and took a picture.” That does not seem to fly as an artist statement. Why, I’m not sure.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m jealous of photographers that think in project terms. It’s nice for something to have a beginning and an end. I really enjoy the projects of contemporary photographers like Susana Raab, Amy Stein, Taryn Simon, and of course there’s heavy hitters like Richard Misrach and then groundbreaking projects like Avedon’s In The American West. There’s so much thought behind all of these bodies of work, but this is not to say that there isn’t the same amount of thought or meaning behind photographers’ work that is more point of view oriented. (A friend once said to me that there are two types of photographers – project photographers and point of view photographers. Think about it.) In the end, I think it all comes down to the editing. How one edits a body of work can pull disparate images together in a real way, or it can feel forced, boring, and uninspired.