Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Expectations

(All pics. snapped on 2/16/12)

For the last little while, I've been in the midst of a thrilling (and yet terrifying) self-inflicted, transitional phase...and needless to say, because of that - things have been more than just a little topsy-turvy around here, to say the least. 

After quitting my job a couple of weeks ago, I dove headlong into the (somewhat tedious, at times even daunting) process of making what I guess could be considered - lateral career moves. All the jitters aside though, I am super excited about both of my new well as optimistic that I might finally be making positive changes in my life that (hope, hope) - could actually wind up leading me down a pathway to success.........for once

That being said, I did not bring this mess up with the intention of going into elaborate detail about my big "career shift" in this post (I promise you'll get the lowdown once I've dotted every "i", jumped through every hoop, and have all of my ducks in a row). Mostly, I just wanted you guys to know - that although I'm admittedly terrified about rolling the dice the way I am - I'm confident that in the end it will all pay off. It simply has to...I havta believe that... 

The crazy part about all of that though is, once I was officially unemployed? I was totally expecting to have this glorious glut of extra time to do whatever...specifically though - to tend to my selfpics and my blog. Ha! I literally have had days recently, where it was all I could do to find ample time to sit and take a piss...I shit you not. And on top of that - seems like every time I do make time to get hunkered down in my desk chair so that I can upload and edit pics., or write - my computer (even with its brand new, $220 hard drive) acts like a damn just freezes up...while the cursor does that annoying, rainbow, spinny wheel thing. Guh.


Somewhat similarly (sort of) - while on the way to my son's basketball game a few weekends ago, I spied the house in which the pictures in this post were shot. I was immediately intrigued by its deliciously crude appearance, but also intimidated by its high visibility to passersby (it sits out in the open, at the intersection of two four lane highways...catty corner to the newest, bustling Wal-Mart in this area)

When I went there two days later in order to stage this (disappointing) shoot, I was nearly overcome with nerves as I brazenly strode across the very public, private property - and then climbed into the house through a busted-out window sash...all the while wondering if, or how many people driving past might see me, and subsequently do the right(?) thing, and call the cops. Nevertheless, I felt confident that I was taking the risk of being caught trespassing - for the benefit of my art...and I was good with that. 

All I can say is this - I hope that my instincts about quitting my job so that I might pursue other career options, in the hopes of ultimately realizing some pretty big dreams - pays better dividends than this risky shoot did...blah.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When The Cat's Away...

Although my natural inclination is to wanna write a full-length blog entry about this - my most recent set of snaps, there really isn't that much to say about 'em. Unless of course, if after I publish them - the proverbial shit hits the fan (the likelihood of which, is pretty great). 

For the time being however, I think I'll just keep my mouth shut...and only speak if I'm spoken to first...  

(All pics. snapped on 2/12/12)

P.S. - I'm bringin' Little Pretties back! Please click here to see pictures that I took of things other than me, the same day (and same place) that I took these selfpics....Thanks! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Good JuJu

Good news, people! After a couple of nerve-racking, anxiety-filled weeks - I am ecstatic to report that through much prompting and persuasion by the nice folks at Apple, and the online file backup site where my data had been stored - my ridiculously expansive collection of selfpics, snapshots and videos, has found its rightful place back on my (refurbished) iMac (as well as iPhoto - so iCan tinker with 'em again!)...praise be!

...and in other photo-related news: Three of my self-portraits were recently selected to be included in the Group Exhibition of the February/March "Portrait" issue of F-Stop Magazine, ain't that cool?! (THANK You, F-Stop...a million times Thanks!)

Now for the bad news. Last evening I was literally minutes (and words) away from completing this post, but like a do-do, I left the page to go do something else - and when I returned to Blogger to finish the entry, turns out none of the text had been saved. Awesome. 

The funny part is, in hindsight? I almost consider it a godsend...cuz after sleeping on it, I realized that I'd spent way too much time trying to glorify this subpar set of pics....

...and so for the sake of avoiding droning on and on about essentially nothing (as I had done in the post that was deleted), and because it's been two weeks since I've updated The Big Ugly - the abridged (and less favorable) version of the original post is simply gonna havta're welcome.

(All pics. snapped on 1/24/12)

For as eager as I had been to stage a shoot in a field full of unbroken horses - once there, my enthusiasm evaporated. I swear to god, it was like working with a bunch of thousand pound two year olds...sweet animals, but so frisky, unruly, even surly at times - and curious to the nth degree. After my camera was repeatedly knocked off of its perch on the low thrift store table - by one mischievous, mud-covered muzzle after another - I got the bright idea to fasten it to an out-of-reach tree limb, with the help of my handy Gorillapod . But by that point I was honestly so over the whole thing, that I quit after just a few frames. Bleh.

Disappointed (but not discouraged), I was hopeful that the challenge of clambering up "Mount Round Bale", (without tripping over the dress' long train, for godssakes!) and getting into pose before my 10 seconds were up - would mean certain redemption from the botched, wild horse shoot. But alas, in reviewing this sorry series of pics., it was evident that my misfortune had perpetuated itself.

My only reprieve that day, was an impromptu shoot that I staged in a barn stall - while killing time until the farm manager was able to let me into a locked room packed with antique horse carts and carriages. The pictures produced were not "great", by any means - but sadly, they were as good as it was ever gonna get...

I don't know if it was because the farm manager and his brother stood right outside the open door, talking with each other for the endurance of the carriage room segment - what I do know is that I never got into a proper groove for these pics.. But do they suck? Magic 8-Ball says, "It is decidedly so". badly do they suck...Magic 8-Ball says, "Better not tell you now"...grrr...

Since I've written this entry twice now, I've had plenty of time to try and sort this mess out - and the best explanation that I can come up with for why my day at the horse farm was such a resounding disaster, is that during the downtime when my computer was on the fritz, and the fate of my pictures was uncertain - I think I lost hope for a spell...It was gut-wrenching to face the possibility that my blind disregard for the fragility of digital photography - might lead to the extinction of two years-worth of dedication and hard work, not to mention five additional years-worth of family snapshots...I wondered if I had brazenly committed social Hara-Kiri for the sake of my art, only to be left with nothing tangible to show for it. The more distraught I became over the worst case scenario - the more seriously I considered giving up on self-portraiture...

...and so when my friend invited me to come by and take pictures at the farm seen here in these pics. - I reflexively jumped at the chance (since by now, I'm conditioned to accept pretty much any reasonable offer). The problem was, my cynical mind kept telling me that there was really no point in even bothering with the shoot...or any other shoot ever again, for that matter. If I had in fact lost my entire body of work (as I continued to worry, at that time) the very thought of starting all over, of rebuilding my empty portfolio - was such a daunting prohibitive in fact, that I began to set my sights on chasing other dreams. I mean let's face it, I'm 43 years old for cryin' out many "good" years of this stuff, could I possibly have left in me anyway?

Long story short - when I showed up to shoot at the farm - with all of its horses and hay bales and carts - I was literally operating on auto-pilot, relying on muscle memory, going through the motions...while my brain still kept nagging, "Why in the world are we here?" 

Now...I realize that this post might seem just a smidgeon doom and gloomy - but it actually does have a happy ending. In the weeks after my computer bit the bullet, I was stuck in this weird sort of limbo - not knowing exactly what was going to happen...and not sure of what I would do when it did. All in all, I think that the mandatory time off from self-portraiture, might not have been as detrimental as I've made it out to be. Truth be told, I think it actually might've helped me. Because as a result, I've made some pretty drastic changes in my life - and (being the perennial optimist that I am) I feel confident that they will only improve the chances for my art (and all those other dreams) to truly flourish...and I mean that.

Oh, SHOOT! I almost forgot! THANK You - to my friend the farm manager, for opening up your place of employment to me...I sincerely appreciate it! I'm only sorry that I didn't take better advantage of such a wonderful opportunity...Maybe I'll have better luck, next time?