Guides to Other Land

as we divide, we find ourselves in groups gathered behind different dead. This can be illustrated with tales of two deaths – who notices, how, why.

Some deaths are noticed widely – even by those who did not know the person. Who you notice in death, who makes an absence also made a presence in your life; made a contribution to you even though they may not have known you, acknowledged you while they lived. These people are likely your guides – your markers.

We can know a group by noting who they notice even more than what they talk about. In major matters of life the ends of are the points observed and commemorated. Deaths are noted with encomiums – some sincere, some superstitiously just noted with RIP.

Simultaneous “worlds” of photography operate with relative autonomy. Sociologists and communications researchers studying photography have revealed distinctive spheres of activity in which work routines, photographic styles and evaluative standards differ sharply (Becker 1982; Chalfen 1980; Christopherson 1974a and 1974b; Musello 1980; Phillips 1982; Rosenblum 1978; Schwartz 1983)

Robert Frank  (November 9, 1924 – September 9, 2019) 

On the day Robert Frank died, much of the artworld was publishing obits, showing photos of gatherings at his New York studio. As social networks sprouted tributes ranging from selfies to full scale ZZZ the other world talked of lens standards and standardized images.

Film Forum topics 9.9.2019

Bruce Barlow (June 9, 2019)

They get as far as a Workshop. Characteristically they don’t notice the death of their other online counterparts.

The artworld notices one another — the Snobby Hobby notices the price of cameras.

Every Start

The procedure is the same, no matter the materials I begin with a proof, a test. From film or sensor, rolls or sheets. It was how I began, it is how I work now.

From the ‘index’ of images come the next round. In this project these small prints will be cut apart so that multiple edits can be made.

Then, the decision: is more needed? It usually is. In ongoing long-term projects the end is never found. At some point, it is best to consider the closing will never come.

Make, select, edit; endlessly, or until you are satisfied enough to set it aside.

Involving others in this cycle is hazardous. In most cases they will not be at the same level of understanding as you, so may over, or under commit; too loud, or soft a reaction. At this stage this project has about 150 images. It is just begun yet already has several directions possible.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be published. There is no deadline: no show, no editor waiting. Only the cold glow of the table asking:

WHAT’S NEXT?