There are times when I feel like the “idea well” is about to run dry or the only ideas I have aren’t worthwhile pursuing–you know, lemons. I try not to be too hard on myself when this happens and remain hopeful that what I am thinking or dreaming about will provide an experience to move me forward in my photography.
I don’t know much about the history of art or photography. I began to do more reading and as I did, I found I wanted to discuss the concepts and to ask questions of other artists and photographers. A few weeks ago I visited the National Art Gallery with a friend from work who is a painter and sculptor. We spent the entire time in a radius of about 25 feet and talked about five paintings and one sculpture in total. I had a fabulous time and found myself wishing I could spend every week doing something similar.
That thought has materialized rather quickly into what I call IDEA or Image Discussion for Emerging Artists. The concept is very simple. Bring together a group of photographers on the same journey to discover and use their voice and have a biweekly image discussion. Each time we will select one or two images to discuss but they won’t be our own. Instead we will review iconic–and lessen known–images and talk about their context and why they work, how and why they’ve influenced photography and the world in general, and what they mean for our own work.
Last night, led by Ray Ketcham, we had our first G+ Hangout focusing on Edward Weston’s “Pepper No. 30” and also the image that won the World Press Photo Award for 2012. Two images that seem unlikely candidates for the same conversation but by the end of the evening, we managed to connect several dots. Two keys points were that art and photographs need to be viewed within the context in which they were made and second, that our work can sometimes transcend even our own intention for it.
It was close to two hours before we ended our time together and we all agreed that we would meet again in two weeks time and do this again. I personally think it will be a great way to supplement my learning and improve my understanding. The proof however will be in the pudding as they say, and time will tell if this leads to making deeper, more compelling and memorable images. (Definitely they have to be better than these lemons!)
What do you think of this concept? Is it something you’ve thought about doing? Would it be a group you might like to start up? I’d love to know your thoughts!