Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 1

2011 was a year of trials and tribulations for me. It was full of stress, confusion, and a great recession of my artistic inspiration. 2011 was, by far, the biggest year in my photographic purpose and style, a period of redefinition that came entirely unexpectedly. I moved away from conceptual, horror-based photography and into a more subtle, serene style which I have grown to love immensely.

Just this weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about purpose in art. He feels that art is nothing without purpose or relevance, which I argued. I think that sometimes, a lack of purpose in and of itself is a purpose; sometimes art doesn't need to have a meaning or a goal or a message, sometimes it's just meant to be aesthetically appealing. Regardless, "purpose" and "relevance" are fairly subjective terms. What is relevant to one may be irrelevant to another. You may not be able to relate to something, but it doesn't make the feeling any less real for someone else.

I've learned to take photos for myself. Photography morphed from a means of networking and socializing into a medium with which I could actually relate. You take film and expose it to its surroundings and it changes. It can be manipulated and altered, but ultimately, once that exposure is complete, there is no turning back. The emulsion cannot be re-bonded, it cannot be forgotten or redefined. It's something I've grown to understand; it's not always about purpose or relevance or even aesthetics. Sometimes it's just the fact that we're accepting change, that we're allowing ourselves to be shaped as we work and as we create. It's accepting that we are all ultimately products of everything around us, and that is a lesson I desperately needed to learn in 2011.

My film from week one was shot almost entirely on Friday, save for two frames for which I did not particularly care. Nicole came down to visit and arrived on Thursday evening. She brought her friend, John, whose company I greatly enjoyed this weekend.

We spent Thursday night with Arieyl and Natalie watching Jersey Shore as we are all intellectuals and obviously connect with the cast. Nicole, John and I stayed up until 5am talking, listening to music, and looking through art. Friday, we woke up early, John and I went into Bethesda to get us Georgetown Cupcake, and we met up with Kara and headed to one of my absolute favorite places in the world, Ellicott City.

Ellicott City is a city in Howard County, Maryland that is known mostly for its quaint historic district. You take a couple turns off of the major highway and are surrounded by historic buildings, antique stores, kitschy little vintage shops, and cafes. I've shot there so many times before, but it never fails to provide really fun opportunities for photos, so it was our first destination.

The first shop we went into was one that I had never really explored before. It's kind of difficult to describe; it's full of colorful trinkets and costumes and they seem to specialize in fairies. I had only been inside once before and we left almost immediately. It's kind of an overwhelming place, the walls are lined to the ceiling with obnoxiously playful novelty sunglasses, pirate costumes and "magic fairy dust." This time, we went up through all three floors.

It was actually very charming once you got past some of the overbearingness on the first floor. The whole shop reminds me of my first photography teacher from my sophomore year of high school, Ms. Blankenship. She sort of had that slightly nonchalant fairy attitude, the kind of woman who goes wherever she so desires and always follows her heart. Kind of a free spirit.

We continued into one of my favorite antique stores

And the Native American shop that sells dreamcatchers, mandelas, incense, and jewelry, among other things.

We finished off the afternoon in the historic district at Bean Hollow, a little coffee shop/cafe that I always go to when I'm in the area.

We met up with Katie, Ali, and their friend, Johnny, who also ended up playing a big role in the success of the weekend. We took photos in an abandoned house that we had visited one year ago when we met Kevin Mayer and Lindsay Anne Dransfield, but did a little more exploring in the area this time around.

From inside the house:

We ventured up into the property that sits above the house

And also across the street to the empty shell in the ground where a house once stood. I don't know for sure what happened to it, but from the looks of the other houses on the street, it most likely burned down.

Everyone came over later and we all hung out for a while, again just listening to music and chatting. Last night, Katie, Kara, Natalie, Arieyl, Johnny, and Kwesi came over. We spent the night laughing and talking, playing games and building bonds. John and Johnny, I can safely say, are very good friends of mine now. It's incredible to me how easy it really is for me to make friends when I'm not completely guarded and antisocial.

Today, Katie and Johnny came over again to see Nicole and John again before they left to go home to Pittsburgh. I'm currently at my brother's house dogsitting until Tuesday, so Katie and Johnny came out with me and spent a couple of hours with me. We got dinner and played with the dogs, and now I'm lying in bed, contemplating everything that has happened over the past several days.

I'll have a lot to think about tonight and over the next few days. Hopefully I can channel that into another interesting roll of film or two.

This week's film:
  • 1 roll of expired Fuji Superia CZ 800 which, for some reason, turned out very blue
  • 1 roll of expired Agfa Vista 200, one of my favorite films to shoot with
  • All shot with a Canon EOS 630 and a Canon 50mm f/1.4

1 comment:

  1. ahh, I thought I recognized that place! looks super fun, I love this post and your new project :)