Visit with Jim – Who, What and How

For today, my first thought was around what is your purpose.   Who needs help?  What do they they need? And How do would you help them?    We wrestle with these questions as our family works to deliver on our mission: “We will be on the breaking edge of abstract photography and bring forward new artwork that inspires”.  We want to add to the positivity in your life, by simply presenting this photography.  

I asked the three questions of myself after listening to an interesting podcast.  A caller was struggling with a career change in life and was unsure what to do next.   The three questions posed above gave such distilling clarity I read them into my phone to keep them for further thinking.  We want to enhance, our community’s life experiences.  We want to do that by adding to the body of bright, energetic art that is available in your life.  As I pulled at the thread, How do we do that seemed to be a more complicated question.  Turns out the How is in direct ways and some hidden ones as well.  The latter of which we will share our learnings about in a few months. 

Our paper world
Our digital vortex

I was also reading some more passages from Omar Itani about Wabi Sabi. The first readings really spoke to me and prompted me to revisit the topics and explore them further.  To quickly recap: Wabi is to see beauty in humble simplicity and Sabi – to accept that imperfection will have beauty hidden beyond what we initially perceive.  Tied together, one accepts the current state of imperfection as beautiful – as it is impermanent with time marching forward.  This created a fork in the road for me to consider as it related to the How we help.  How does one cross the bridge from our more permanent print edition world of photographic art to our ephemeral digital world?  Accept digital.  Accept print.  Resist change.  Resist Digital.  A mini Kobayashi Maru for our Star Trek devotees.

Perhaps as Mr. Itani seems to allude further on, we cannot resist the changes ahead.  Or can we?  That is the conundrum for me to ponder.   As photographers, some of us are striving to enhance and brighten lives through photography which had been an exclusively print medium.  There are other intentions with the photographic art form (provocative, political etc.) but I will set them aside for this rumination.  Today’s quickly world is moving in a direction away from one state and towards a new one as is always the case.  That train has already left the station. 

Sharing photographs through printed media may connect with people in a longer cycle that ebbs and flows like listening to music on vinyl 45s and LPs have done over time.   Digital streaming music supplanted those forms some time ago.  Yet there is a growing resurgence of audiophiles moving back to buying the analog form.   Our son is a burgeoning fan of LPs.  He is finding warmth in the sound of vinyl more appealing, though admittedly less mobile.  I see an amusing dilemma in his purchase of CDs while he also streams Spotify.  His life choices, perhaps not mine…    I have shifted to exclusively to digital music, but cannot find that same impetus to completely switch in photography as a producer.  I passionately want to stay in the ?anachronistic? paper form. 

Reeling myself back to the photography question to cling to the print medium or to  jump to streaming services?   I guess to answer that question and following the above philosophical framework, I would have to begin to think through which set of imperfections in the media format is most acceptable or least problematic.  For me, the Rubicon to cross is the loss of an ability to touch and hold and feel the tactile nature of paper (I select paper for their excellent characteristics produced by companies making paper for a very long time, in one case centuries) or to wait for the return from the digital world the bold ones willing to revisit print as an artform.  

As we extend our thinking further along these line we arrive at a concept to consider Uketamo: acceptance of whatever life delivers to us.  Instead of fighting, resisting or refusing … and simply accepting whatever circumstance is presented to us.  This pushed me to consider how would I synthesize these two divergent roads in photography in a manner that fulfills my artistic preferences and passion.  One could accept the present day circumstances as imperfect and changing, but choose to stay in the historical print photography genre.  One could accept the current paradigm shift in what photography means and is and adapt to the new framework.  One could entertain both, which seems to mean that the artist is caught between two divergent and parting platforms: digital photographic images and print photographic images.   Does the tactile and more permanent yield to the digital ephemeral…  

To tease this apart a bit further, within each there are degrees of permanence or ephemerality and imperfection. 

Paper could mean Instamatic prints that produce in minutes and last for days to weeks to more conventional prints that last for months to a few years and then to my preference archival gallery quality prints that last for decades. Even these are impermanent too. All used in very creative and legitimate, provocative and beautiful forms of art. 

Digital could mean social media streams that flow through our phones with the blinding speed of a digital torrent and nearly epileptogenic, to the more casual viewing of swipe left, right, up or down and then onto slower thoughtfully curated screensavers and shows. The impermanence is a factor of the movement off the screen and the simple matter – no electricity … no image. 

One of the subtle challenges within this paradigm shift is that the audiences seem to select their preference based on their current circumstance.  Many prefer phones and laptops while viewing until at a show and then they are electrified  (pun intended) when they see and interact with artwork in the physical world rather than a virtualized digital version.  

Perhaps acceptance means that neither is right and neither is wrong.  Each speaks to a very different audience, in a different state of mind and point of view.  Such a great time to be alive as the world of photography diverges into at least two realms. To be able to watch the evolution of how these two artform are produced, displayed and consumed.  

Perhaps that is lesson.  Context matters.  Texture matters.  Image presentation preferences matter. In the moment. 

All explored, considered and conveyed in a purely evanescent media of digital imagery.

As always, I am curious, what is your preference? 

Join me in a fireside chat via Zoom in the evening to discuss any aspect of my artwork.  To qualify, and join a video conversation send your contact information here and let me know what you would want to talk about.  The selected participants will receive a 25% discount on any of my unlimited edition pieces of art.  I will personally sign the piece at printing.  Even more, the gallery is offering this purchase risk free for you. Free shipping, Free return, and no questions asked if you are unhappy with the art work.  You can keep the print for 30 days to enjoy the selection in your home or office. This risk free offer does not apply to metal, acrylic and other specialized media prints.





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