Gazing at Photographs:
As humans we enjoy looking. This sensual aspect of the human being for survival also has to have other aspects. One cannot be “surviving” 24hrs a day for seven days a week. We need a break from survival. This is where the gaze of “art” and “photography” comes in. Once we have survived, the gaze can also be used as a means or relaxing, time off so to speak. The gaze can thus be directed into other areas to give enjoyment and relaxation.
When does the casual gaze become a problem? When dealing with photos and paintings, I don’t think that looking at the image for a long time constitutes a problem (porn not a consideration here) However when looking at someone, for an extended period of time, it can be a problem if not handled correctly. When I was younger, looking at a woman for a long while was a sign that I was interested, without having to use words. I think as human beings we soon learn how to handle the gaze when looking at the opposite sex and if they respond positively, one can proceed further, however if they are uncomfortable, they have ways of letting one know, and it is important at that time not to cross that boundary. Crossing those boundaries is when the gaze, or the extended gaze can be a problem.
One of the difficulties I have been experiencing is how to abstract my project Fences. I am not interested to show representational photographs, but rather what they represent. Therefore the images have to allude to, or connote certain abstractions such as fear, insecurities, uncertainty, death, escape, freedom, life; to name a few. Which a fence connotes.
I am not opposed to image and text, but feel that there may be a different way. After all it was well used by Martha Rosler’s: ‘The Bowery in two Inadequate Descriptive Systems.’ and do not want to go that route again. I appreciate it and enjoy the work, but feel I need to make my own road there..even though I may have to submit to an artist statement to put it into context.
Looked at the work of Fredrick Sommer. ‘The Sacred Wood’ His image was so abstracted that people where asking what it was? To which he replied: ‘Spilled paint, plaster or powder, smashed putty and sprinkled sand.’
I am really enjoying ‘creating’ the image more and more, instead of hunting for it or taking it. I like making an image and transforming it to represents the abstracts I think about. And it can be done, as Fredrick Sommer did.
Henry Holms Smith: Collected writings, 1935-1985.