Happy To Have It
I picked up the processed film this afternoon, a good excuse to get out the office on time to miss the traffic, eight rolls of color slides and four rolls of black and white contact sheets. I'm not happy with the contact sheets. The quality - did I get any decent shots, color or black and white? - is, well, hard to say. I wonder if I haven't degenerated into some kind of horrible sneak up on attractive women snapshot hack. I was going to say "snapshot artist", but "artist" is not the idea I had in mind.
I sometimes think about the photographer and artist Mann Ray, not so much because I'm knocked out by his work - nothing derogatory here, I like his stuff - but because of a story told by Francine Prose in her book The Lives of the Muses. Ray became obsessed with painting the lips of his Muse, Lee Miller, after she'd left him to continue her own photographic career. Evidently Ray spent two years obsessively painting Lee Miller's lips, the most famous of which is Observatory Time. Wow. Exactly. Lips. Prose goes on: how men can become obsessed with a woman's legs-breasts-lips-face-hair-eyebrows-feet whereas women see men in an entirely different manner which affects their artistic vision and style.
OK. That's a whole different discussion, but in shooting pictures (in painting pictures, carving pictures, knitting pictures, acting pictures) there pretty much has got to be an obsession with something - lips will do - if only to make it happen. It doesn't matter what it is - lips again, I'm liking this lips thing - what matters is it exists at all and it moves you to do whatever you do. Who cares if anyone else can see what you're doing or care about what you're doing if you're obsessed? That's the beauty of obsessed. Follow the obsession and the world will fall into place. He said.
So you see yourself as Man Ray reinventing the world through your pictures?
Man, I see myself as trying to find something that reliably gets me out of bed in the mornings. If am image of Man Ray painting Lee Miller's lips helps me with that, I'll hallucinate 'ol Man Ray at his easel and be happy to have it.