Monday, December 21, 2009

Portraits and Self Portraits

A few images I made late in the summer.
Still a lot more touching up to do on them.

I was thinking about artists today. What is the motivation for making art? I'm sure it's different for everyone. I know some of it must have to do with the aesthetics of art. But is it more than that? I think about the images of Kiara above and wonder, what is the point of me making them (besides the obvious quality of the light)? Will those images ever become something more than ink on paper? Will these images (or future ones) create change? Do they need to?

I remember having a critique from Dawoud in graduate school. He said that I needed to make 'good' pictures. That the point of me being in Cabrini would be a waste if I didn't come out with 'good' pictures. I know he was right. Even though I learned a lot about people and developed relationships that I will cherish until the day I die if I didn't make 'good' pictures, I would have nothing to show for it.

I stopped photographing in Cabrini because of one person. I'm okay with it because that person is important to me. But now I feel as though the work I'm making is no longer important. I'm not out to prove anything with these images. I don't even know quite what they mean.


Bill Guy said...

Hi SB,

I like the top picture the best. Your stern expression is an interesting contrast to the warmth of the light and palette. It's also interesting how much older you seem in the top picture compared to the second. It references Cindy Sherman and how she plays with our perception of identity through both costume and gesture. Mapplethorpe does that really well, too.

I think that I understand what Dawoud means about the need to make good pictures. Sometimes we can get so caught up with concept that the quality of the images is lost. I think that is a huge problem with contemporary photography. We are left with convoluted and academic artist statements, combined with deadpan and sterile imagery. Many photographers don't understand what it means to bring a sense of visual poetry to their work.

I make art because I like the way that it organizes my life. It gives me something to work towards. I also like how different projects lead me to different aspects of art. I never considered existentialism until I started the downtown stuff. That project has also gotten me to consider surrealism, along with other things. I guess I gauge a project worthwhile by how much it teaches me.

I like your self-portraits and think that you should keep making them. The fact that the two that you posted are so different is interesting. What would happen if you keep going?


Sarah Baranski said...

Thanks, Bill.
I agree about contemporary art losing its' quality. I hate most of the photography in the modern wing, for that reason.
So then, is making art something you do just for you?
I'll try more self portraits this summer. It's hard with my range finder to make sure my face is sharp...but I'm interested in seeing where it goes.
Thanks again for your comments.