Thursday, February 26, 2009

That Which Was Learned...

Recently one of the photographers we featured in Expiration Notice asked if all the work and effort was worth it. Well, the true measure of success would be if any of the featured photographers got some legs from it all with offers for print publication, exhibition or assignment opportunities, etc. That would be quite the payoff indeed!

The quality of submissions, along with an equally enthusiastic partner (who I've never spoken to, seen or met), make the whole scenario a lot less like actual work. And considering there's no flash, bells or whistles (just straight out, plain ol' Blogger), I'm pretty happy with the final product overall. Honestly, it's a kick promoting that which you really do love and believe in. I'm really excited by the work we're getting together for the next edition, and I'll be up for doing it as long as that quality continues. Fortunately, the issue of money is not a factor here- so all those perverse complications are conveniently averted.

Oh yeah, there is one ultimate irony to it all- Here's a guy who's damn lucky if he can get himself into a group show, and now he has decision power over guys with CV's and pedigrees he could only dream of. I aint saying that out of ego, spite- or guilt either. I hold no degrees in the field, never interned with any names, and was one of the worst 3rd assistants in all NYC for all of one year. I did study at the feet of The Masters for twenty five years though- gorgeous, original B&W then color prints of all different sizes, formats and styles at all manner of galleries. No, that certainly doesn't qualify one as expert, even when coupled with 35 years of shooting, but I've been around the block a few times now- enough to know that one of the major reasons some of the snottier galleries are more than happy to accentuate that great divide between the public and those behind the great gallery desk/barrier is to disguise the fact that they know (and appreciate) even less than you...

2 comments:

Brian Rose said...

I recently posted a comment on my blog that betrayed some frustration about feeling on the outside looking in with regard to the gallery/museum world. I got taken to task by someone:

"Just do work that is unreservedly excellent. not 'good' not 'as good as' but: unquestionably amazing, groundbreaking, then people will get to hear of you and what you do. When something is that good nothing can stop word spreading."

I used to think this was true, but I've seen so many talented photographers--and songwriters--another of my serious hobbies--slog away for years doing incredible work, but never getting anywhere near the recognition they deserve. Some labor in total obscurity. I've even seen people give up all together.

Your effort with Expiration Notice is admirable, regardless of its limited reach. It's time to fight back.

Stan B. said...

I read it. And I think we all know of truly talented people, who produce(d) truly talented work, continue to do so- and... nothing. Your book The Lost Border is a perfect example of work that deserves so much more.

While the term "groundbreaking" means just that, often it simply translates into "flavor of the month." And no matter how hard your hustle, once that "amazing" work is done, it's often left up to the gods of luck, timing- and who the hell you know.

Unfortunately, the art biz is just that, and the pull yourself up by the boot straps rap may be inspiring, but...

As a has been (ie- never was) photographer, I couldn't even get fifteen seconds let alone minutes, but as an "online curator," maybe I can afford others a shot at theirs...