Treasure Hunting

I found this picture hidden away on my computer one afternoon while I was sorting through my old work to add to my portfolio. Sometimes I just make a picture, work on it until I’m happy with it, and then stash it away somewhere and forget about it only to rediscovered it at a later date. I call this treasure hunting. This would be a good example of such a photo.

I love this picture, which often baffles me because I don’t think it’s even any good. I think the subject matter is boring, and it doesn’t really say anything about anything other than “look at the pretty clouds above my house.” Nonetheless, every time I see this picture I always stop and stare at it for a good 30 seconds, and depending on my mood I think about how the clouds look that day.

In art school I learned about a photographer named Minor White who became the spiritual successor to Alfred Stieglitz’s concept of “Equivalents.” White argued that photography is like a mirror held up to humanity, a meditative object if you will which changes every time you look at it depending on your mood and how you feel about yourself that day. That is to say that White made some really abstract looking shit in the 50’s and 60’s which all kinda looks the same if you stare it long enough. I had a real disdain for this kind of work back then, and thought it was a sort of copout to leave the interpretation of a work completely open ended and give the viewer no direction whatsoever. To me, this was the artistic equivalent of dropping someone in the desert, kidney punching them, and then telling them to find their way home.

I have been told recently that in life “you kill what you love, and you become what you hate.” I tend to really hate this kind of work, but for better or worse, I really really love this photo.

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