Friday, September 25, 2009

Invisibility, DW and A Revelation

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 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 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.


Rob Prideaux said...

Very astute.

Unknown said...

Great post T.A. -- I had a similar vibe about Dan when I saw his presentation at Aperture a couple of months ago.

Unknown said...

Tim- Dan really was such a joy. I was thinking about things from the photo editor perspective after the lecture too. To work with someone who is so talented and then, perhaps to get a work of art in the mail disguised as a sketch he is thinking about for our shoot we are planning. And then, perhaps to be the art director and go to an awesome work-space studio and see what he has physically made out of wood and paint and metal and wire for our shoot. And to get the research back that he has taken a drive down a long country road to the University to procure for my writer. Truthfully, I would not want to hire anyone else. Why? I guess if I was in a hurry, or had a limited budget, or the shoot was about place or food or lifestyle or something...

Russell Kaye said...

I thought you were going to write about Rob and his DW..

It sounds like your getting some good mulling time and that energy is translating into a very well-written blog entry. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love you T.A., no really I mean it :-) Kudos to you for putting it out here, thx

Timothy Archibald said...

Love? What did I do to deserve the Love? I'll accept are welcome.

benjamin said...

Check, please, my blog where I post vintage pictures on arts, natural history and advertising.

Unknown said...

Your blog about the quiet period is right on. I experience the same thing on a yearly basis. I can't explain it and honestly, I don't like it. I'm going through this period right now and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. It really drives me crazy.

Anonymous said...

On my comment- Hey, I wanted to say that after I pressed submit on my comment to you about "the silence" I realized that even though I related to what you were specifically writing about, my comment must have come off as oblivious. I was pretty mesmerized by the DW speech and clearly didn't preface my ebullience with a- hey Tim- I know what you are talking about with "the silence". I nodded internally, and not in my comment. What I did mean I think, was that even though we all go through cycles of "the silence" (and the hardship that "the silence" brings- such a wonderful way to describe it and I thank you for writing this post) Dan did come off as someone who brings an incredibly elevated sense of involvement to his work. I was humbled by Dan's dedication and even more by his ability to manifest the energy that so many of us spend thinking about photography into the preparation and construction of his final images.

All that aside I thank you again for your thoughtful and honest post.

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