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:
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.
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.
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.