Try a little loneliness
#91: Thinking about Mardi Gras and cemeteries and how to share my work
It’s become apparent that my ‘cemeteries on expired film’ project will take some time — which is to say a considerable amount of time. I don’t want to rush it. I began the project with excitement, but as these things go, the initial rush wanes and I admit that I’ve become much less willing to share the progress. Because it becomes somewhat of a slog.
For me, this brought up the question of how much behind-the-scenes should be shared when taking on an art project. Or should an artist simply wait to share the finished product?
On the internet, you can find many people saying many things on this subject, but I wanted a fresh perspective — so I posed the question to writer Mason Currey (who writes an advice column for his Subtle Maneuvers newsletter). I was fortunate enough to have my question selected and addressed for his latest issue. You can read my full inquiry and his response here.
One of the bits that resonated with me from Mason’s mini-column:
”For me, posting in-progress things on social media has a way of making them feel fixed when perhaps they shouldn’t be fixed yet. Maybe you’ve arrived at a similar stage with this photo project?
As for feeling a responsibility to your audience, I think there are ways to include them in the process other than actually sharing the work-in-progress.“
It’s true that taking on a project really means that project is taking on you. Which is to say there is a co-evolution happening — and so sharing every step of the way feels untrue to it all. I am still figuring it out. Go figure.
While I’ve taken a step back from photographing cemeteries over the past month or so, I’ve become reacquainted with my draw to quieter moments — which was particularly apparent when I brought my camera to Mardi Gras. The photos I identify with most are those that feel withdrawn and carry a bit of loneliness. Apart from the image of a man in carnival garb, you might never know these photos were taken in the thick of parade crowds.
I do wonder if the time spent walking in cemeteries has pulled me further into this lonely aesthetic. I cannot help but fondly gaze into these quieter frames. Long shadows and some human longing take center stage here. Memorials to the moments buried already, deep in our past.
As you may expect from someone dealing in images, I collect them — for myself, for DNO, for whatever. Here are some of the latest saves to my downloads folder:
🎹 The Casio Employee Behind the “Sleng Teng” Riddim that Revolutionized Reggae
”The ‘Sleng Teng’ riddim revolutionized reggae music in the mid-1980s, and has spawned hundreds of versions in the decades since then. Less well known is the story of how the distinctive bassline originated in a preset sample included on a Casio electronic keyboard and the work of a young developer fresh out of college.“
🔊 Best of 2022
Every year – now since 2016 – I make a playlist of my favorite newly released music. A couple months in and we’re just over 2 hours of good shit for your ears. Enjoy! And if you’re on Apple Music…
“It is wonderful how much work can be got through in a day, if we go by the rule — map out our time, divide it off, and take up one thing regularly after another. To drift through our work, or to rush through it in a helter-skelter fashion, ends in comparatively little being done. ‘One thing at a time’ will always perform a better day's work than doing two or three things at a time. By following this rule, one person will do more in a day than another does in a week.”
Thomas Mitchell, a farmer, on productivity