Many years ago a student once popped their head into my university office and after seeing a picture of mine on the wall that appealed to them said, “You must have taken that photo with an expensive camera!” I chose to treat this as a compliment, although I’m sure many of us having heard the same thing from others feel a bit weary of it. (Another common compliment-attempt is something like, “You could sell that photo for a good price.”) It may be the hard work of sustaining a photographic practice-of-making is forever hidden from those distracted by the noise of sixtieth-of-a-second clicks.
But maybe that comment of mine is itself is a form of special pleading. There is the famous (albeit disputed) quote attributed to Michelangelo where he observes that those who admired the skill of his creation might not be so in awe and wonder if they saw how much work was needed to attain such mastery. (Imagine my horror discovering The Angry Cheeto has even tweeted Signor Buonarroti.) Singing, painting, dancing — our world is full of overnight sensations who have led lives of intense & complex labour.
And so to these past two months with the day job plus other life events leading to nights ceasing – more often than not — in a fog of trembling exhaustion. I have had nearly no moments devoted to the current VI Zine project, and this despite my enthusiasm for the task set before me this current round. Now is the time for some hope, yet rather in the way expressed by Vaclav Havel: “Hope … is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” Hope in the sense that the moments which will come for this crazy way I’ve chosen of being a creative humanoid are themselves good, regardless of the outcome of that work. That our work together is good. That the effort is good.
My night tonight, though, is a walk around a big city block plus a cookie plus some time to jot down these thoughts. I did get into the darkroom earlier today for a few hours. Hooray!