Wednesday, November 02, 2011
What Kind of Crazy November is This?
Since it's November and it's also National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo as we like to call it) I thought I would explain a bit more about the process.
The way NaBloPoMo works is simple. Although it's a contest of sorts, the way you "win" is to post once a day, every day, for the month of November. The idea behind the "contest" is to get more people blogging, involved in blogging, participating in these sorts of activities, and the like. There are other corresponding "Months" as well, mostly notably, National Novel Writing Month, which is also (conveniently) in November. The idea is to get folks writing, thinking about writing, writing about writing, etc.
Writing and visual arts go hand-in-hand. I've often talked here on the blog about how photography is writing in lot of ways. They both are, at the core of it all, thinking-organizing ideas, be they ideas of words or ideas of visual space, into a presentation, into a finished product of sorts. Photography at its best has a subject and that subject connects with a viewer. It's the concept of taking a clear idea, taking a concept, and showcasing it visually where photography really hits the mark. The best images are ideas realized, highlighted in some kind of visual form, yes, but showcased too as ideas, as concepts, as subjects. The best photographers, when they take the best images, have some solid idea in mind. Seldom do we accept haphazard randomness as part of a finished product. Although that does happen from time to time, the best photographers actually set themselves up to capitalize upon chance. They seize the moment they've been expecting, not just some random odd happening in the universe. If you want to be a great photographer, to really take your image-making to the next level, you have to think. Clarity of subject goes a long way and, while it's must harder than just say bumping into random things like a Roomba, it really does make for the best images over time. Anybody can get lucky once, right? To make it happen and to make it stick, you've got to work at it, and that means thinking, clarifying, having a vision and not just accepting random accidents from the great beyond.
So, this writing thing? Yes, it's designed to help you become a better photographer. Tell me what you're doing. Tell me where you are going. Tell me what you saw. Don't just see it, tell me what it was. Talk to me before, during, and after your images talk to me. The idea that photography is a "voice" and that we each have our own unique distinct "voices" as image-makers is really not a new concept, even if it can be difficult to pin down your specific voice or to find your true calling as an artist.
Given this, I welcome the idea of writing more about photography. I welcome the idea of helping my students gain the clarity that comes from crafting a vision. I welcome the notion of a core of solid images over time, not just some flash in the pan happy shots somebody liked once upon a time. I strive for long-term growth as an artist, not just a short sprint to some kind of shallow prettiness that's really just a fleeting beauty.
This is the real reason why I like to participate in NaBloPoMo. It's gets me writing and that gets me thinking. And thinking? Yes, that's so at the core of photography, it's not even funny. So, I'll do it again this year (or try to) so that I can bring you some clarity of thought, some semblance of the method behind the madness of being an artist.
Once again this year, the rules are simple. Post once a day for a month. Thirty posts in thirty days. That's it, there's really nothing more to it than that, although, as I do every year, I will use this opportunity as an excuse to explore some new topics, to relate some funny stories, to connect with your more and, at the core of it, to hopefully craft some better images. I hope you'll consider coming along for the ride, either as a reader here or as a NaBloPoMo poster yourself. And, you know, hopefully I'll still see you come December, only we'll both be "winners" of sorts.
Until next time...