Friday, June 10, 2011

Everything Old is New Again

Overview

Welcome to my new and improved blog! In honor of my 50th post I’ve added some new features I’d like to present. First, in the right side of my homepage, I’ve taken advantage of a new Blogger gadget which allows me to spotlight my most visited posts. I am not a great believer in the concept that most popular necessarily means most valuable, but in this case, I think it’s a convenient way for new visitors to this space to get a quick sampling of what my blog is about, what about me and my blog has most resonated with people, and at the same time a way for longtime followers to be reminded of why they are still with me!

 In Good Company

Above this gadget you’ll find a window linking to my new flickr Photostream to which I have posted my best past work and will add new works as they are created. This will be a great way to see my images in one place, regardless of whether they are objects for sale or attached to specific posts or projects.  In addition to enriching the content of this space, I’m also experimenting with ways of drawing more people to it, the better to appreciate all the richness! In the interest of heightened internet recognition, I will be paying more attention to discovering and sharing links to other kindred sites and acknowledging the kindness of other bloggers linking to my site, which generosity I have already so gratefully known. Sorry, Facebook fans, I have still not decided whether or not joining FB will be a benefit or a liability! If the time comes that I determine its advantages outweigh its vast potential for distraction, you’ll be the first to know!

 Down B Street

Fear not. I have not crossed over to the dark side. We artists are often uncomfortable with the marketing and promotion side of our existence, but I have hereby embarked on a mission of demystifying and simplifying the process of holding strong your integrity as an artist of the old school while still being smart and capable about using the tools of the modern world to your advantage. If this stubborn dinosaur can figure it out, there’s hope for anyone! I am learning that surviving in a rapidly changing art world does not have to involve a change of values or identity, just a change in methods of identifying your right audience, figuring out how to connect with them, and making who you are and what you do and care about valuable and available to them. 

 Flash Forward Boston 2011

Which brings me to last week’s wonderful celebration and examination of the state of the art and business of photography, Flash Forward Boston. One week later I am still sorting through copious notes, mental and handwritten, and investigating the many links to resources mentioned in various lectures and panel discussions. This is one of those times I wish I were not so inclusive in my hunger for knowledge. There is no way I can possibly follow up on every website and personal contact of interest. I have spent the past few days feeling like a judge on a talent competition reality television show – the first cuts were easy, but now I am making the difficult choices narrowing down to the best candidates with the most potential, and sadly watching some qualified options go. I am being forced to consider where exactly I want to go on my journey as an artist, because there are so many destinations and ways to get there, and not every way will best serve my needs and goals.

 Winds of Change

Aside from many scrawled website addresses, I brought home even more valuable if less tangible leads in terms of perspective. If, in an age of streaming information and limitless reduplication and manipulation of images, the photograph no longer has currency as an object, the way a painting or sculpture might, the photographer has no choice but to create value for their work in other ways, creating a signature style and established integrity that will attract potential clients and collaborators to them, eventually setting the stage for material gain. Stephen Mayes of VII Photo (http://magazine.viiphoto.com/) spoke of this in his excellent lecture, and also stressed something that many of us here in the blogosphere have already discovered  - that partnering and sharing with other artists has not only ceased to be a scary thing, but quite often proves enriching for everyone involved.  Artists seem to be understanding that thinking in terms of cutthroat competition for a dwindling number of available spotlights does no one any good. There is plenty of room for everyone to develop a unique style and be successful, and sharing resources and connections, or collaborating on projects isn’t going to harm that. And much as I struggle with modern technology, the potential of all the different online social networking sites now available to put people in touch with each other for their mutual professional and creative gain is indeed a positive thing however overwhelming it can be at times.  It all comes down to what you are hoping to get out of being an artist – instant fame and fortune? Or a longterm career in which you continue to develop your style and get your work out there to be enjoyed by the public? Fame and fortune are very hard to achieve and often transitory, but there are now so many ways to have your work exhibited, in physical and online venues, and have a full distinguished life as an artist on which you can look back and know you did good work and touched other souls along the way.  Here are some other interesting sites, new to me and dedicated to presenting and promoting photography:

Wonderful Machine 

Feature Shoot

Flak Photo

Self Publish Be Happy


I Stand Alone
 
Knowing who you are and what you do best sounds simple as a first step, but is not always an easy one. Many people get it backwards and try to be a successful artist before they really know themselves or their work.  Sometimes the most self-aware of us go astray to provide the public with what we think they want and will pay for. But it cannot be stated often enough, what will make you desirable as an artist is what you are already doing and who you already are, because no one else can provide that -- simply because they have not had your experiences and do not have your way of processing them and turning them into art. Personally, I have always struggled with being both a poet and a photographer, and not having achieved great success in either of those media. I used to think if I could only just focus on one thing, it would benefit from the increased attention. Now I can see that these two have never really been at odds vying for my energy and time, but always belonged together and are part of what I am and do that will set me apart. Putting together words and images is the basis of this blog, and continues to be what I most enjoy doing, because it is how my creativity chooses to express itself when I am not getting in the way. I don’t know if there is a term for this sort of bi-creativity. I don’t think my images are just adornment for my words or vice versa. I am not a photojournalist or even what I would consider a photoblogger. Visual essayist?  Whatever it is, what you see in this space is not what I do on the side while being an artist, it is actually what I do AS an artist.

 Red Handed

And now for some news, which you can also find by clicking on the NEWS tab in my header.  One of my photos has been accepted for a monthlong group exhibit beginning July 1st in the Inside Out Gallery. This space, which occupies the window of the CVS store in Davis Square, is sponsored by the Somerville Arts Council.  Due to its central location in one of Somerville’s busiest squares, this show will allow many passersby to view my work, and that is the best news of all!

 Know where you belong...

And last but not least, but entirely suiting today’s theme of old things made new and a tribute to pairings of word and image – I’ve added a new selection of works to my IMAGE SHOP! These 5 x 7 images are photographic prints on glossy paper from scanned negatives mounted in 8 x 10 black mats inscribed in silver ink with quotes from my own poems. These were the first products that emerged from my beginning life a year ago as a full-time artist.  Last summer, I revisited my photo files and my poetry files and found old images and old verses all created at different times in my life but which instantly made connections and came together in wonderful ways.  A highly optimistic judgment of their marketability led to my creating a larger inventory than proved necessary and for which I now have no room to store. Save these beautiful pieces from the paper shredder! Sale price is $15 with $5 shipping anywhere.      

 Speak Softly
 
And now, after complaining about having too much information to absorb, I think I will end this post before I inflict the same condition on all of you good people!  Many thanks for your continued support and have a wonderful weekend.

28 comments:

  1. As always a beautiful and thought provoking post. I found it interesting that you separated your work as a poet from that as a photographer. I have always thought that your photos have more than a little poetry in them.
    And thank you mega heaps for giving us here in the blogosphere the chance to have them in our own homes. I have just bought Awakening, and suspect I will be making more trips to the well - I wanted many, many more than just that one.
    Congratulations on being selected to have an exhibit in the Insideout Gallery (love the name).
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  2. Hey EC! Isn't it funny how we unnecessarily categorize things to suit some perceived standard or expectation? You're right about the poetry in my photos, and actually, my poems have always been quite visual and had a "snapshot" quality to them! Many many thanks for the time and interest in purchasing one of the prints - I know you have your hands full at the moment. I am so glad to know it will be going to your home. I just hope your kitties don't decide that the new arrival is a challenging toy for them to figure out how to get off the wall and onto the ground! Oh my - they can't read this, can they?

    All the best to you and the bruised but undefeated SP.

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  3. Congratulations on a splendid new blog and on all your success here. I'm sorry I've been absent for a while. I'm thesis writing, but will be back soon enough. It's as much as I can do to post once a week, but I have no time to go out blog visiting, much as I'd love to. All in good time. In the meantime, best wishes.

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  4. Many thanks, Elisabeth. I had noticed your absence and was hoping it was due to a good distraction! Not sure whether thesis writing qualifies? I'm sure your most loyal followers and followees will understand that Life sometimes takes precedence over Blog Life. I also have been struggling lately to keep up. Many times I read but do not comment and worry that may send some unintended message of neglect! So, believe me, I'm grateful you took time to pay me a visit! All the best to you, and get that thesis done!

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  5. And everything new will become old soon...

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  6. Dear Gabriella, your blog looks great.
    I've always loved your writing and photos as a whole. They work wonderful together,just wonderful. Your photos are intriguing and very beautiful on its own and so is your writing but putting them together in your posts give them them both an extra dimension.

    'Red handed' oh how i love it, deep colors, the movement, splendid, and a good thing to have it out there to be viewed by many.
    This post so full of good thoughts and things felt so good to read, X

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  7. Ah, Wong that is so true! It is an endless cycle isn't it? But there is joy in it, as long as life goes on. All the best to you, my friend.

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  8. Dear Renilde, thank you for your kind words. I am glad you like my blog. I believe it's important to present it in a way that represents who I am, not just in content but feeling and appearance. I have always loved not only the words and images you post in your blog, but the overall look and feeling of it too, it is so uniquely yours and always a joy to visit!

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  9. Hi G I like your thoughtful approach to the marketing, the steps you are taking and the changes to the blog are great! i think I' might try those little popular posts things for exactly the same reasons you stated - it helps folk get a feel for what/who we are without dedicating hours to trawling back.

    It must have been a great and inspiring week; with little gems uncovered for polishing over the next weeks and months...

    Congrats on the showing as well...great opportunity for people to recognise you and your work and embed it in their heads, so when they need you they can recall you!

    Go well F

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  10. Thanks F! As for the popular posts thing, it is sort of weird to think that they will become self-fulfilling prophecies, as they gather more hits to themselves just by being prominent on the page! It will be interesting to watch and see if the posts or their order change over time! I'll be tracking their view count more carefully now.

    One of the lessons I brought back from last week was that the fewer obstacles you place between your target audience and whatever it is you want to happen with them, the better - be it hire you for a project or buy certain pieces or just understand and remember who you are and what you do. A friendly and simple website goes a long way! Yours is so open and inviting it makes one want to stay and enjoy its contents!

    Also, watching to see if things work or not and not being afraid to phase out a strategy or audience that yields no results! So, stay tuned - more than ever I am in "work in progress" mode! Go well.

    Inspiring week, yes, and now comes the hard work of putting it all into practice!

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  11. Hi Gabriella.
    The news on your blog are wonderful.
    I can read in between your words that you are
    full of excitements and so you should!
    Congratulations that people are looking at your
    image for over a month. I am happy with you !!!
    It is an honor reading your posts!
    Love
    Monika

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  12. Dear Monika! Thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to have your sympathy and support from far away! I know you can always read what it is my heart, beyond the words on the page! All the best to you, my sweet friend!

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  13. These are amazing fotos. You have worked so hard on the content as well as the layout. Congratulations!

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  14. Jorge! So good to see you here. I am so glad you like these photos and the text and appearance of the blog, that means a lot coming from you! All the best to you, my friend.

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  15. did i get late for one more of your posts ? what a surprise. I never forgive myself for that but it always happen.
    wow, it isn't a post but a real statement.
    I like the way you use the photos between the texts, help us to breath :D
    It has amazing things being said here Gabriella...
    and congratulations for the Inside Out Gallery.
    hug !

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  16. Caio, you may be late for this post, but you were the first one to notice and comment on my new flick photostream last week so technically you were still the winner! I am so glad you liked this post! I tried to get some serious business into it this time - which isn't always as popular, but needs to be said. Artists have to be smart about self-promotion, no one else will do it for them, so sink or swim! Thanks for your comment, my friend.

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  17. Great post, I really enjoyed the virtual "tour" through your blog and how it was accompanied by pictures and visual aids to show where everything is. I'm excited to browse around your blog again! And congratulations on your photo being accepted for the monthlong group exhibit - that's fantastic, what an honor!

    I'm glad to hear you've been well :)

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  18. Hey congratulations gabriella. and yet another great post in your wonderful story. have missed a few I must admit, but I always love to come back here and am always amazed at what you are doing. love your new blog look.

    xt

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  19. Hey Phoenix - It's always nice to have good news to share, isn't it? I'll be sure to have photos of my work in place when the show goes up next month! I'm so glad you like how my blog is progressing - I'm approaching my first year anniversary here and I'm glad this space is on its own creative journey, always growing and changing and not running out of possibilities any time soon! All the best to you, my friend.

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  20. Hi T! Thanks for stopping by. It does seem like Blogland is having one big mass case of Life Getting in the Way of Blogging lately! I'm guilty too of missing posts or reading them and just not having the time to reflect and comment properly. I do appreciate your comment. Have a great weekend!

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  21. Hi dear Gabriella,
    I really liked the innovations in your blog!
    were great, the separations issues and sidebars!

    and you know, quite understand what you said ...
    there are so many changes! every day we are 'forced' to update us, if we fail to be part of this endless game!
    I never thought that adult life would be so
    full of charges ...
    ... well, now it's our time!
    live the present as a great gift!

    receive my affectionate hug! :)

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  22. Dear Denise - I am glad the new look and features of my blog pleased you! I agree with you, we must keep up with the changes and claim the present time as our own! You are right, it is truly a great gift. A warm hug to you in return!

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  23. You sound like you're in a spot of being happily busy in what you enjoy - a great accomplishment!

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  24. TB - from what I gather of your latest posts, you are in a good place too lately - or you were, while traveling abroad? If it's any consolation, I did go to the Louvre while in Paris many years ago and it was so crazy crowded I did not enjoy any of the works I had hoped to have an amazing experience with in person after so long only knowing them from books, so perhaps you did not miss as much as you imagine! Oops, I guess this comment belongs on YOUR blog...

    By the way, I haven't always been able to say I am happily busy in what I enjoy - it's a nice change!

    All the best to you.

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  25. Hi Gabriella! I was aways some time... I missed lot of your news, naw I want to look at all :-)

    kiss

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  26. Dear dear Laura! I've missed you while you were away! I am so glad you are back, it is always good to see you here! Kisses to you too.

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  27. Gabriella....finally, finally getting back to reading some of the blogs I've been behind on! What an inspiring post...sounds like you are heading into a bright future full of cheer and wonderful expectations. There is a new hope in your voice....it's quite contagious and makes me feel good! I know this post was written some time ago...off to read your latest! Cheers and so good to hear your voice of wisdom!

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  28. Hi Patti - yes it does seem we are all falling behind in our blogvisits! No need to explain. I am actually a few days late writing my own new weekly post...I'm glad you liked this one, and sensed the new note of hope, and that it worked its way into your mood as well! All the best to you.

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