If you don’t speak French, the gist of this picture is the things members of the public often say to artists at their exhibitions. Believe me, I’ve heard plenty of them. The most common of all – “C’est vous qui fait ça?” / “Did you make that?” Then there is “Is that art?” “Ah, that’s the price?” “Oh yes, it’s fashionable at the moment…”, “Your frames are fantastic!” “Are these copies or the originals?” You learn to roll your eyes inwardly and smile outwardly as you answer.
I’ve talked a lot about needing to change in the past, I took time away from art and did new things. I’ve spent the last 6 months really trying to pinpoint WHAT I love to do and how I want to do it.
This I do know – Photography is becoming increasingly important to me. My printmaking lessons are something I value highly; they’ve taught me not only technique but also to slow down, pay attention to crafting the work, a deepened love and understanding of paper. It keeps my drawing skills honed. It helped me realise that I need to explore less and refine more.
A few weeks ago my rather old digital camera started playing up so I started to save for a new one. Then I thought the universe was perhaps telling me something. I really only make photos with film, so now the money will be put towards setting up my darkroom instead. For years I’ve been developing film in my bathroom and scanning the film but now I’m itching to make proper silver prints. I’m not far off, I have 2 enlargers and all the lab gear I need, all that’s missing is the actual dark room…
From here on I just want the art to be important. I recently read somewhere, I can’t remember who it was, sorry(!), that he was so sick of being identified as someone who shoots with a toy camera because he mainly uses a Holga. He didn’t feel it should define his work and the work should be appreciated for what it is, not necessarily what it was taken with.
At the end of the day, I trained as a sculptor and a handsy process is super-important to me. Staring at my computer, post-editing and making multiples are not. I love the idea of making a photographic image that is a one-off. A handmade photograph. Slow Photography.
I want to continue to play with processes. I want to play with scale – teeny tiny to huge. I want to see what’s possible. I want to make more unique books. I want to my photography to align with my values. I want my photographs to say something about what I am passionate about.
Then I may be able to go back to the “c’est vous qui fait ça?“