Yes, I do know how stupid this sounds (and how I'd counsel against thinking this way should a friend ask for advice). So lately I've been thinking maybe making art is kind of like losing weight: you have to fit it in to your life so that it works. Don't bother with elaborate schedule upheavals or acquiring brand-new and unfamiliar equipment. Just — make it work within what you already do.
Which is why I've arrived at a simple-sounding creative project for myself, just for fun, for the new year that begins with my birthday, which is tomorrow. Here's my thinking.
I have long loved taking photos - the act of framing and attempting to capture an image in the world always reminds me of Dorothea Lange's great line, "A camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera." I think this is how I approach photography whenever I do it, because I am forever looking around to see what stands out, what's new that I haven't seen before, what pleases my eye - camera or no camera.
|Clock repair shop on Sanchez Street. Rarely open; working cat inside.|
Then there's the question of what the exercise should be: take the first thing I really can focus on each day? limit myself to one photo? find something I've never noticed before? take a bunch and pick just one to upload? In the beginning, I don't think I can commit to just one approach. I read a helpful piece on a site called Photojojo, "Project 365: How to take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way". One helpful tip: don't worry about posting every day. Shoot daily, yes, and then post maybe a couple of times a week. Ah. That I could do without fear of inundating readers with unwelcome frequency.
I already know some things that never fail to get my attention: handmade stuff in an otherwise machine-made environment. Handpainted signs, graffiti. Funny juxtapositions. Art in unexpected places (like alley murals, or quirky window displays). Patterns within patterns. Unusual colors, decorative bits where they "shouldn't" be. You'll see all of this for sure. What I'm looking forward to is to see a bunch of it over time, so that maybe I can hone my technique and think about what comes from it.
This is how art works for everyone else who makes it. I figure it's about time I follow their lead.
So the housekeeping bits: I'll probably use Flickr, and point this blog to sets I've parked there. I'll use my Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, along with my iPhone and Nexus One to shoot and upload. I'll use Picasa Web Albums to create some 'playlists' now and again, and will comment here along the way to explain what I like about what I saw.
Now then - I'm off to look. Really look.