Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Welcome to the City, Spirit Girl - Works in progress
© 2011 bridget batch
Is it ok to post images that aren't necessarily finished? I know you're supposed to "put your best foot forward" and all of that, but is it really true that curators and art directors cannot envision that something can be unfinished, and yet still worth seeing? If you're reading this, and you have an opinion about this, please weigh in. This is my blog, not my portfolio site. I am not applying for a grant with the blog.
In the past I have been very, very intimidated by the amount of work out there, about just how tough the competition is. Late in 2010 I had a sudden realization that may be changing my life.
At this point in human history, it's actually amazing that there can be so many humans out there devoting significant periods of time to making art. Has that ever been possible before? Not since the hunter gatherer era, I would think. The world has never been as extensively middle class as right now. And even 120 years ago, middle class included the category of spending an entire day on sewing an apron or churning butter. Art is a luxury in many ways (while remaining a necessity in others). But look, we have an amazing global dialogue occurring, in which thousands of people are consistently making excellent work thinking about personal and sociological issues. Just that occurring is nearly a miracle. All of this positive energy and beautiful work can only be pushing the dialogue that is human culture forward.
I like this photograph, but I don't think I have it quite right. Unfortunately, I can't really reshoot it, snow has melted here in Boulder and we are leaving tomorrow. I think the nasty snow is an important component, I don't think dirty brown grass will make the image better. Of course, I could reshoot the model (me) and photoshop me in, I suppose. But that's not going to work so well either. The series may seem easy to manufacture in Photoshop but it's not. The see-through Spirit has to be in the setting, because, well, you can see what is behind it.
But I like the confrontation with Safeway, I enjoy the line of confusion between artistic moodiness and straightforward shot of the supermarket. My Spirits are growing interested in the human part of the world that they don't quite live in. I can think of a few things I can do to make the photograph better, push it a little further. But I wanted to post it as is now, and consider the process.
Kevin says, "There is no such thing as a reshoot." He may have gotten that from somewhere else. He's absolutely right. With photography, especially digital photography, it is so tantalizing to think, "well, if I go home and check this out on the computer and don't like it, I can always come back." But that never works. Time will slip away, conditions will change. I had no intention of reshooting this, but sometimes, especially when working in subzero cold, alone, at 2am, it is difficult notice everything in the little viewfinder. It's hard enough to just focus in the right spot. When photographing in parking lots, there's the additional concern that security will throw you out before you finish doing anything.
I photographed in nature right before this and although I know better, standing alone at night in the country is terrifying. Even at 10 degrees below zero on a night almost devoid of traffic, I still fought a terror of the nameless man (Bob from Twin Peaks?) who will crash out of the woods and descend upon me.
And now, the confrontation with Safeway is entering the world, well, the online one. I want her out there, I want it all out there. The global cacophony is inviting, just as the consumerist clamor is pulling this Spirit towards the world of pretty packaging.