004: Stats [and Feels]

‘It’s part of being an artist. You can’t create great stuff all the time, you’d be inhuman. The human side of people is that sometimes they fail.’ - Elton John

I could bore you with statistician-ish numbers of what I’ve shot since I moved to NYC, in my attempt to best my most productive year in photography in just the five months I’ve had a new Drivers License picture, but I won’t because the attempt was nothing more than an attempt at a humble brag that no one other than myself cares about, and then I would do nothing but try to best that number next year.

The quality over quantity argument is the longest tenured spiel of what I emotionally react to as the lazy artist. So some famous painter took three years to make a figure of light and shadow, but honey, we’re in 2018, and we’re at the 20 frames-a-second part of history now. 

So I shot a bunch this year. So I shot some of my best work this year. Did I though? How long do you have to sit on an image before you think it’s actually good or be objective about your own work? I’m perpetually torn between hoarding the images I make like a Chicago Nanny and pushing everything out into the world like a parent with a Flikr account. 

I did shoot more this year than any year previous. I created more technically good frames this year than any in previous years. I pushed myself creatively in ways I haven’t before, and the new year presents new opportunities to reset and refresh and throw myself against the tsunami of creative juices that flow through this city like the Slime River in GhostBusters 2.

[In case you can’t tell, I love metaphors, and creating comparative structures of reference, simply because I mentally do that in my everyday existence, as a way of coping with my ever so feeling out of place in this society. Like a formless robot, I apply so many new endeavors to a catalog of previous history and known pop culture references, which are nothing more than pseudo lives lived that I’ve adopted in a void of my real life attempts and seclusion. It’s how I attempt to relate to the world place we all share, live, love, judge, and operate in. I also think it shows cleverness and a humorist side of me, and Millennials are always in combat over individual cleverness because so many of us were nurtured on the teat of The Office. It’s also my personal attempt at out-vague-ing and losing the larger audience I may be speaking to. By getting more and more obscure, I’m speaking directly to a smaller number of human like creatures, but speaking more directly and passionately, and I love the road trip from accessible to niche.]

But am I sprinting through a marathon? Am I attempting to justify forgoing care and time for the numbers and hustle and bustle? Some dude said your first 10,000 images suck, and only after that do you start creating worthwhile work.  I shot one of my favorite images in the first four months I owned a DSLR, and in many ways my entire creative life has been just about chasing that dragon of recreating that moment with better gear, at a slightly better angle, with a more marketable release plan. Is the creative journey designed to be more than just a box check of 10,000 images and 10,000 hours and boom, you’re an Artist(TM)? Journeys are lot less interesting than declarations, which is why everyone says they watched all of the Lord of The Rings movies, and then conveniently leave out how shitty the middle of the second movie is, and how much a chore that was to drudge through. 40 pages of “walking” in the script isn’t sexy, but getting to the top of a mountain and conquering an evil deity is.  The creative life is similar, but our Eye of Sauron is a 9-5 job with a 401k.

The year ahead lies with doors I’m gonna break down with a hammer, or a chisel. Not sure yet. Maybe a flame thrower (do you know any billionaires marketing such a product?) I know I have to continue to destroy and rebuild, maybe because I read that somewhere that all art is just a rinse and recycle version of the all of this planet’s known creations, and I wired that somewhere next to the fuse panel of my brain’s interpretation of the art creation process.

I have a week or so before I finalize my Goal Set and Vision Plan for the Year of the Pig. This week is about shutting down, being proud of whatever I’ve accomplished this year, and taking a brief breather as the clock strikes midnight and we all enter over the threshold of Gregory XIII’s wacky idea. 

So over the next few days, as Americans navigate through the landmine that is What It Is, I get to sit back, binge some Angelina Jolie movies (Christmas in Jolie Marathon donchaknow) and figure out if the New Year’s focus will be less is more or more is more. 

Here’s some pictures of Feels (Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY)

NW: Life With Mikey

NL: “I Hope Your Band Goes Nowhere” - Talay

NR: I Must Say : My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short 

More tk….

003: Art [and Surfbort]

“You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.” 

— Lee Friedlander

There’s another quote out there, somewhere in the abyss of words that is the internet, that this Friedlander quote (discovered today by the signal boosting account of @icphotog), reminds me of. Basically, the just of it is, we as photographers are really just editors of light and shape. The raw material is out there, we just have to edit out the unpleasantries to the human eye and boom, an artist we are. 

The concept of photography as art is one that puzzles me. Of course it’s art, because art is art and let’s not get too serious with that idea right now. But really, we are just using some sort of technology that someone else made and perfected, and saying with our little brains “Look at this moment in time, a split second out of millions a year, that I deem, in my most high humble opinion, more valuable and interesting than millions of others. Please press like.”

Is it art when we basically just press a button to create a tangible version of “huh, look at that thing”?  Are we artists? Why is it art when all we do is say “look at this but not at that”? 

I actually hate the word “Art”, or more specifically the word “artist”. I’ve always been reserved when referring to myself as an artist, and lacked the self referencing confidence to even call my self a photographer. For a long time, to me, calling yourself something means you are that thing, and you couldn’t really be anything else. I had jobs that paid the bills, so I wasn’t anything else other than what my current business card said. That’s obviously short sighted and ill conceived inaccurate bullshit, and I’ve grown over the past decade to understand, that yeah, you can be something other than Your Job Title. 

I’m not sure where the vileness behind my emotional response to the word “Artist” came from. Why I am so against it? I think it’s a combination of the stereotype loofy artist persona that is portrayed in middle America’s anti-rose colored glasses opinions of the Coastal Elites, and the first few people I met that addressed themselves as such a title, were personifications of the douchebag artist stereotype. (Sorry if one of those douchebags is reading, but honestly you aren’t, because you lacked personal connections with humanity, Chuck, so shut the fuck up and care about someone. Asshole.)

Art and artists obviously mean a lot. And we can get esoteric all day long about What Is Art And Why Does It Matter (obvi art makes life worth living, or is that love? All this and more on my Ted Talk.) but the point remains, this is my little slice of the internet and I’m using my Case of Dove to say the word “Artist” makes me feel a way. I get that, I’m working on it, and maybe I’ll some day be able to call myself one without internally cringing like I just said something stupid to a pretty girl (who I didn’t have a shot with anyway)(unless I said a smart thing than maybe I would have had a shot)(but I said a dumb thing)(damn.)

If you are looking for an eloquent musing in this last paragraph to wrap my ramblings up in a neat little package, an ah-ha moment if you will, that ties some of the above thoughts together to Form A Point, you won’t get that. I’m not a writer, I’m a photographer.

Here’s pictures of Surfbort  [10/27/2018, Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn]

NW: House of Cards Season This New One With Claire Fucking Shit Up (on episode 6 no spoilers or I murder you)

NL: Distance Is A Mirror EP by Public Practice (holy shit when Sam said “Distance is a mirror, shifting my perception of reality, reflecting everything that I knew” DID I FEEL THAT)

NR: I Must Say : My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short

More tk……

002: Another One [and Tiger Sex]

So, technically, I only shot one band this week. Tiger Sex’s set at Otto’s Shrunken Head didn’t get started until 12:01 on the 25th (iPhone Standard Time), so that’s technically this week. 

Anywhos, here’s some pics

One Subject

Next week will be busier. A full work week plus some gigs, plus filming for some vlogs for an artist. Then a bunch of editing, then a few more random shows, then I start editing the 137 Zine. I guess we’ll see what happens. 

The Zine is problematic, because I want it to be high quality but also affordable, but I know only a handful of ya’ll might buy, which makes the bulk discount pricing a non issue. There’s also a problem in the amount of pictures I want. So what’s probably gonna happen is I’m going to the Modern Pop Artist Route and offer 2 versions. A more cost effective 40 page issue at $15, and a Deluxe Version with 240 pages for about $60, which is really the version I want to put out. 

I’m only going to offer it in a preorder situation, so it will be available to buy for about 2 weeks, then mailed out a little bit later. I will probably only put it up for sale every 5 months or so when a new issue is available, so if you don’t cop it in January it will be the end of the summer before you could grab some copy.

Another One

Is it okey to not be able to do every single fucking thing you want to do? I have a solid decade of ideas and artistic desires floating around in my head, and I want to knock them all out in the next month. The problem with that, is most of these ideas or situations can not be rushed. How can one shoot an entire presidential campaign and a huge world tour of a cool ass band in the span of a month? Your boy simply can not accomplish that, even if it seemingly seems possible if I just put my head to it. Or maybe I just need to shut the whiney little fuckface in my head up and take my time, and craft the story as it happens instead of rushing through the experience like a virgin smashing the first time. Take your time Mike, work the nipple, the promise land will be there always and you’ll both enjoy it more if you don’t smash, squirt, and run.

That was a sex metaphor icymi.

Love y’all. Don’t forget to do the work.

More tk……

NL: Katy Perry ‘peacock’

NW: House of Cards Season 6

NR: The Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and RD Reynolds

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