Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scorched Earth Policy

Over the past three months, I have been exploring different ways of utilizing the simple lighting modifiers and arrangements in hopes of figuring out exactly what aspects appeal to me. I have been trying to find my style or voice. After over twenty years of making pottery, I had found a very solid voice in clay. It didn't matter whether the pots were fired in an electric kiln with bright orange glazes, or fired with shino in a woodfiring anagama. The pots were of the same cloth. They spoke with a common refrain. That is what I am looking to create with my photography.

Some people rely on Photoshop effects to create their style, or worse, the rely on things like Instagram to create their image altogether. As a result, Facebook is inundated with images that all look the same. I don't know that that is a horrible thing, but it definitely put me off from considering a tilt-shift lens for the time being. All of that: let's make the world look like a tiny diorama-crap was making my head hurt. Some folks can pull it off. Most just make really cheesy images.

I was reading a photo-blogger from the UK this afternoon. He was trying to convince folks that his style was exclusively monochrome. A few inquiring minds wanted to know if he actually shot in B&W, and his reply was: Of course not. He changes it all in Photoshop. That is his style.


Made me wonder if my work stood on its own regardless of what I do in post production. Are the images good enough, in camera, to stand the test of time? I don't know. So far, some of the images I have made since leave the ceramic arena have been exceptional. Some have been great. Some have been downright so-so. Since the beginning of June, I have been progressing through my database, removing any images that are so-so or worse. If they don't rock my world now, I doubt they will rock my world in ten years. This has been my scorched earth policy of the summer. Burn out the bad images. Don't look back. Push on, and make new images, better images.

 Some certainly disagree with that idea. Some friends would rather see me save every single image I shoot. I just think that results in hoarding. The last thing I need in my life right now is clutter... emotional, physical, digital... heck, I don't even want a cluttered kitchen! I would like to think that as space is made physically, it opens up the potential for space emotionally and spiritually.


  1. You are right of course...the artist must be the first and inherent editor of the body of work. It's kind of like when we first made pots, and thought that just because we created it, it was a work of art. Others, wiser heads, just nodded and smiled. If we were fortunate enough, or steadfast enough, to explore our creativity further, we could later on see the development of our abilities (technical and stylistic) and toss out what we could then compare and contrast against other works we had created. Yes to paring down and thus giving the better work a better survival...such is pruning. Do what you think is good.

  2. So true Barbara. When I look back at some of the pots I disregarded when I was first starting out, I wish I had them here NOW, to consider and reflect on. Others, that I thought were so great, I wish had met the business end of the hammer WAY back when. Hindsight being what it is... all I can hope is that my foresight isn't nearsighted. Lol.