"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus"
- Mark Twain
The art show season has started. I say this like a veteran … like this is, by now, rote and seemless. Not really. Really, there's a modicum of panic that sets in the week of a show - convinced that there are details I haven't considered, pieces I haven't made and should have, and that - possibly - I won't be able to reach folks in the way I'd like. The blurry photograph is, after all, just that. Blurry. A bit antithetical to how most people tend to consider photography.
My absolute favorite part of these shows is the ability to watch people as they take in the images, listen in on their comments to one another, and hear people's stories - how they relate to the images and what they see.
A father walked into our booth this past weekend with his two kids - a boy of about 9 or 10 and his sister, who might have been a couple of years older. They looked around, and paused in front of the wall filled mostly with blurry Marine Layer images. The young lady, a photographer herself, regarded them with a measure of respectful and reserved skepticism. Her brother quietly commented to his dad, "I like that they're blurry … you get to decide what it is."
And there it was, perfectly distilled: "You get to decide what it is."
I've had more lengthy analyses and impressions of my photographs (each of which I enjoy), but this young man seemed to capture the simple essence … so much of art is imagination - on the part of the artist, but also - and just as importantly - the viewer. It is informed by what makes us individuals - our experiences, our thoughts, our feelings. Art results from the combination of visions - those of the creator and the observer. If one or the other falls short, the experience remains objective … framed, blurry photographs.
In the end, art shows are fun in large measure because I have the opportunity to see my vision translated by your imagination. I hope to always stay true to what I see - that the pictures aren't taken because I think a particular image or scene will sell, but because my imagination has a focus - even if the image does not.