There are these periods when you and your work are electric and magnetic. Good photographs present themselves with little effort. Interesting jobs come to you via email and phone call when you aren't even hoping for them. Opportunities to be included in anthologies, exhibits, things of artistic merit seem to slide in from the universe. A picture resells, someone licenses something and you really have the feeling of the easy free money and artistic satisfaction that this job sometimes offers. And then there is the silence.
The silence usually sets in for a good month or so. I've had it happen before...its a yearly or occurrence...sometimes more. And I'm not referring to the economy. Its really coming from the universe. It is a period where no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you and your work is just utterly invisible. Big jobs fall thru. Small jobs disappear due to unknown circumstances. The creative well isn't dry...you can be creative, but you can not disseminate the information. Large scale promotional efforts truly yield nothing. It's like you bought an ad during the airing of the Superbowl and then there was a black out.
Right now I'm in the midst of The Silence. I'm embracing it and trying to be productive while experiencing the invisibility.
Oh, then there was the Dan Winters lecture the other night. My expectations were low...I had seen him speak a decade ago and had left disappointed. I hadn't learned anything new at that time...it was just a talented guy showing his great photographs. I learned no secrets, had no revelations. I attended this week just because it would be cool to see friends and stuff.
At the end I had a revelation...I think I learned a secret. The power of his portraits really comes down to the fact that he is this very down to earth grounded human being. He is so confident in his abilities that he comes off as ego less. A brief exchange at the end of the lecture made it clear to me: he can really be the beta, he can let you be the alpha...or let you be the equal, and that seems to create this instant trust, this instant intimacy. Of course he's got his own vocabulary with his technique....but that only goes so far, that's the packaging. The power of his portraits, the familiarity and commitment he gets from people comes from the guy. His technique has been very influential over the years, but the human stuff is the thing that no one has really been able to copy.