Dirty Laundry #4: Photo Process

I will start by saying that I think this is in fact the weakest series. Not so much because of the camera problem- though that is an element too and I will discuss it later- but more because it is limited in terms of POV and richness of suggested context. Other commitments have made it quite difficult for me to dedicate the time needed for this project. In Viccy’s last post she talks about deadlines and the relationship between stress and the creative process. I was definitely feeling over taxed time wise for both my paid work and my personal projects. One thing I love about this project is that each series can be completed in a relatively short amount of time, however to do it right I feel like my brain needs a certain amount of space or clarity to develop the concept- the crunch of gathering the resources alone can make me feel frantic and thus unable to really think clearly about the product. When I can think freely about it, there’s that “ah-ha” moment when the fragments that I’ve been imagining start to gel and I feel a clear orientation in the project. With photo number #4 I had had most of the component parts floating around my head for ages  but there had never been the time to sit down and really tie it all together and even on the day my brain was tired from work and crowded with other obligations. Despite all this I was determined to forge ahead and hammer out another photo set so that our project didn’t lose too much momentum but it was at a cost.

When I arrived at P’s house I had most of the props I needed but I was missing one important element- bugs. I really wanted some nasty dead bugs to balance the flowers. The package being constructed in the photograph was not meant to be romantic or at least not in a traditional sense. I however do not have the type of lamps that collect bugs and I didn’t know where to find dead bugs and I hadn’t the time to go buy dead bugs- which would have been ideal but totally impossible logistically for me. So when I arrived at P’s house I first asked if he had bugs – he did! He had emptied a lamp that morning and had two more of the same style that we extracted bugs from. But in the end I don’t think the bugs read on camera.

Because of my camera problem I really couldn’t get in there and get a good shot of the bugs themselves. The shots I have of P with tweezers picking them didn’t really come out enough to use in the series and as a result I have no idea if Viccy will pick up on it- which isn’t the end of the world, I’m sure she will craft something interesting and wonderful none the less. But on my end I don’t think there’s enough variation in the photographs and I’m not totally satisfied with how the series reads as a whole. It seem very process based- very limited in focus and perhaps too didactic.

After the last conversation I had with Viccy I really wanted to work on perspective and while even now I can kind of think of ways to work this with the camera I can feel now and I could feel while I was shooting I just hadn’t had the time to work out exactly how I wanted to do it- I don’t really want to do anything haphazardly and I can tell I’m compelled to keep all the shots confined to the “set” I’m working with. This isn’t a rule- its just something I feel is fundamentally. I want the color/tone to be the same through the whole set and I want to explore more ways of expanding on the perspective while keeping these elements limited.

As for the camera debacle all I can assume is that the battery had run out. Which is odd because I had put the battery on charge for a couple hours before I left to shoot. I think I remember seeing the green light on and all sign of charging happening when I put it on but I don’t remember looking when I took it off. As I mentioned in the “Necessity is” post I was exhausted and half baked from too much work and lack of sleep. Sitting at the table at P’s houe I remember thinking “you must be crazy” when he offered for me to use his camere but then I thought “why not”. I certainly didn’t want to leave empty handed both because I had dedicated my precious Sunday afternoon to the venture and because I felt bad for letting my half of things slip so far past the deadline. So I used P’s camera. There is definitely less detail in the image and I struggled with focus. In the scissors picture the focus in on P’s hand when I would have liked it to be on the flower head that’s getting cut. In the second picture the is not really sharp point of focus and P’s hand is over exposed to the point of no definition in the highlights on the fingers. I think that the composition is still pretty good and when going through the stack I tried to pick the ones that jumped out at me regardless of issues with contrast and color. As a result I am pretty happy with the series despite the fact that I think you can really feel the difference between it and the other three. In the end I think it’s a good exercise- and exercise within an exercise since this whole project was intended to be an experiment in collaboration.

I can’t decide what to do about the next set. Should I push myself to get it done despite the fact that my time is limited and I feel a little unsatisfied with the results of the last one…I’m inclined to say yes. I dont’ really have a concept that I can swing with limited resources but I would like to try to keep the momentum going and see what I/we produce.

see photographs and stories at cargocollective.com/dirtylaundry