Monday, September 27, 2010

Daily Practice 270/365

Title: "Perpetual Motion Kitty"
(click image to view larger)
As I continue my reading of commentators like Frank Gohlke, Robert Adams and Gerry Badger, I've come to realize that one of the best things about photography is the way it can easily be integrated into every day life, and that the banal events of the every day can be suitable subjects for photographs. I think this is a natural outcome of doing this formal, "daily practice" exercise for a year - a repudiation of the idea that photographing is a special act reserved for times of "serious" art making and an appreciation for the possibility of integrating knowledge of composition and form, intent and expressiveness, into images of any subject made at any time. I will continue to make series of images like "That Summer at the Lake" and "My Beloved Rises from Her Sleep", but I can see that I will no longer restrict myself to making, or looking for, such specific series. An artist on Flickr whose work I greatly admire is Amy Fichter, who has been making images that acknowledge those singular moments of the day and express an appreciation for her surroundings as she finds them at those moments – her work greatly inspires me to integrate photography into my own day-to-day existence in a similar way.
So this is Appa. My sister-in-law is staying with us at the moment, and recently her daughter's cats joined the family here. Appa and I have a special relationship based on her unconditional acceptance of loving from me whenever she demands it. I generally come in the house through the basement when I get home, and for the past couple of months I have immediately heard a loud "thunk" from above me, rapidly sprinting little feet across the floor and down the stairs accompanied by little cries announcing the princess' arrival. Appa is in need of some immediate petting, but she is in constant motion while demanding that attention as I sit to take off my shoes and pay homage to her highness. So in one sense this is a mundane image of a banal moment in the day, but in another sense this image expresses that frantic motion with her eyes keyed into my hand at all times. One might question whether images like this are art, but I think that is too heavy a burden to place on a single image and I don't consider the question important to why I made the image. Viewers who have had cats in their lives will come away from this image with a personal memory of their time with cats and will also know a bit more about the personality of Appa. In my view, that makes this a successful image.

1 comment:

ER said...

I've always thought that photography is not the right of an elite few. And thanks to the digital revolution, photography is now available to more people than ever before. What makes an image a success is whether YOU, the maker, like it. No one else has to, and not everybody will. We can look at the works of others and appreciate them, but we're each different. For inspiration i actually turn to artists (although with some photographers it is near impossible to tell the difference, and they inspire me, too.) At the end of the day, there are snapshots, photographs, and photo art. Each has their place, each is invaluable as a unique expression of the artist's relation to the world within and around him/her. They are neither right nor wrong, they just are. Singular moments captured no other. :)