Sunday, July 6, 2014

shutters/dead ends/lens/pens

Here is the link to my response to David Press's chapter 11 call to shutters/dead ends/lens/pens.

The Pose

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Magic is the Child

I wrote a poem many years ago for my son titled, “Magic is the Child”. I often reflect on life through the eyes of a child because it truly is the most pure and honest expression that exists. Children express themselves without a filter of what others think or how they will be judged. They create with a purity of freedom adults have a hard time opening their hearts and minds to. This time doesn't last long though. By the time my son was ready to start kindergarten he had to take a variety of tests. One of these was to draw “in the circle”. He drew in the circle but not in mass, meaning he scribbled inside the circle but didn't fill it with a solid color. This apparently was “wrong” and showed a lack of skill development, so they said. I was appalled by this judgment as well as other things they said. What happened to originality of expression?

Fast forward twenty five years and we are at my daughters college graduation. A family celebration dinner included my mother-in-law suffering from dementia. It was sad to witness that since our last visit she only now recognized her husband, no longer knowing her daughter, son-in-law, or grand kids. What was amazingly positive though was her child like view of our grandson, her great grandson. She fell in love with him even though she didn't know who he was. She kept saying, I want one of those and her expression was so pure and honest. It truly was a beautiful moment.

I've had moments with my personal artwork where I could have taken a path more popular, more relevant to what is reflected in contemporary photography today. Although difficult at times, I persevered and remain child like in the creation of my personal photography. Nothing is calculated and thought out beyond the experience of creation that is relevant to me and my way of expressing my thoughts and feelings in the form of a photograph. My wife who is always supportive reminds me when I get down, “What do you expect, you photograph people nude and creepy dolls. How many people want to hang that in their homes?” She is right but for me to do anything else would make me an imposter. I would loose that purity of freedom I enjoy in the creation of my work.

I've been reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri and it is filled with so much great advice for the artist. Most pages are filled with wonderful quotes to share with fellow artists. I'll end this blog post with a small excerpt from the book which resonates with me and was the impetus for sharing my thoughts in this post.

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

If one is a painter this purest freedom must exist

at the time of painting. This is as much as to say

that a painter may give up his hope of making his

living as a painter but must make it some other

way. This is generally true, although some do, by a

freak of appreciation, make enough while going

their way to live sufficiently well. Perhaps this hap-

pens, but I am not sure but that there is some cur-

tailing of the purity of the freedom.                       

I was once asked by a young artist whether he

could hope to make any money out of his work. If

he continued in his particular style of painting. He

happened to be a man of considerable talent and

had great enthusiasm in his work. But I knew there

was no public enthusiasm for such work. I remem-

bered he had told me that before he got really into

art he had made a living by designing labels for

cans, tomato cans and the like. I advised him to

make tomato-can labels and live well that he might

be free to paint as he liked. It happened also that

eventually people did buy his early pictures al-

though he was as far from pleasing by what he was

doing at this time as ever before. He now lived on

the sale of his old pictures and was as free to paint

his new ones as he had been in the days of tomato


Magic is the child, born with open arms!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I meet the coolest and most interesting individuals

Sojourner is a wonderfully fascinating individual who has, and continues to lead, a beautifully rich life. Experiencing it with a passion for learning, observing and feeling.

We share the same interest in meeting new individuals and creating positive and creative collaborations. Our portrait session was nothing short of amazing. Among the many portraits we created, I also had the opportunity to add to my growing series which is, Untitled (The Dress).

It's an exploration of interaction and identity with this one dress and what it represents. Here is one of our collaborations from Sunday morning's photo session.

© William Zuback