May was a rough month for my ego.
At the Frieze art fair I came across a couple of photographs that were ringers for work I’d been making and showing over a decade ago. The same weekend, an article in the NY Times pointed out a show of works based on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. An optimist might have seen the affirmative glass half full perspective of my work being on the mark of contemporary art zeitgeist. My ego saw the glass half empty perspective of others getting attention for work either years behind my own or less good. (I realize the egotism inherent in even writing the last sentence. Leave it.)
Another recent NY Times article told the story of Leo Bates, an artist who felt similar stings back in the 70′s and reacted by renouncing the art world and retreating to a storefront in Park Slope to continue painting in private until his death a few years ago. That takes some incredible will power. I’ve always said that my interest is primarily in making my own photographs for myself and a small network of friends, family and close associates. The article on Bates in combination with the sting of seeing others getting attention for work similar to my own has renewed my thinking about how I define success and what I want to do with photography.
This is perhaps why the blog’s been quiet lately: I’m turning things over in my mind. (And my impression that no one actually reads the damn thing might play into the quiet, too–what’s the point of howling into the wilderness?)
There’ll probably be a couple of posts in the not too distant future about these thoughts, some recent commissioned shoots and a few other tidbits.
With that, I’ll leave you with a recent photograph from onthego.photos that has nothing to do with any of the above: