Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Portfolio Review Time

I haven’t done much with this blog in a while. When I quit the camera club and the reading meetings ceased it didn’t seem as important to continue writing. That doesn’t mean that I quit thinking or writing--it's just not getting to the blog. As Leibovitz said, it (photography, seeing) never goes away—there is no turning off and turning on, it is on all the time. That is just the way it works.

I am in the process of putting my portfolio together. October is almost on us and I still have lots to do. I have about half the photographs printed but I need to get the rest to the printer. I will print a couple dozen and then narrow them down to possibly eight or ten. The problem is that II can’t quit shooting and just know that tomorrow I am going to hit a treasure trove and have to replace everything that I have done.

There are all sorts of rules about the Review—most of which I ignore. I am not going to mount my photographs so that is time that I will save. However, I am having them printed at Blurb as a book. I will have both the flat prints and the book (which will have many more images) at the Review. And as always with Woodard it requires a lot, and I mean a lot, of writing. The artist statement that will be presented with the photographs is the shortest that I have ever written—simply two fairly short paragraphs. Yeah I know, no one thought I could just write two paragraphs. At the end of the book there will be a more detailed what I call ‘working statement’ where I reveal in great detail the half century gestation period of the portfolio.

I ended my working statement with a reference to photographer Robert Frank’s comment that we never venture into unfamiliar territory. Wherever we go, regardless of how exotic. we only see what we would have seen at home. Yeah, I know you don’t believe that. But Frank is correct. We can only see through the prism of our personal experience. We do not see the unfamiliar because we cannot see the unfamiliar—we have no reference point for the unfamiliar. We carry ourselves with us regardless of where we go.

Emerson said that if you can’t find art at your own door you will never find art. This is the first time that I have traveled more than ten miles from home to shoot a portfolio. I joke with my globetrotting friends that I never travel beyond Conroe (40 miles north of Houston). This time I have made several day or two day trips not specifically to shoot for the portfolio but during which I found some time to work on the portfolio.

As always, this portfolio is damn personal and few will understand the photographs or even care to but that is okay. I am pleased with a few, maybe four or so. The rest are okay but could be improved. They work within the theme but could have stronger context.

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