Thursday, March 17, 2011

Photojournalism and the WI Protests: Is This Art?

There are 3 sets of photo collections on my account that illustrate where I have been spending most of my free time lately-MADISON, WI. That's right I've been protesting for my rights as an educator and joining the fray so to speak. It really has all been very peaceful and actually quite empowering and invigorating. So my question to you who read this blog...(anyone?) is this ART?

I used to have aspirations to become a photo journalist, but I decided I wasn't aggressive enough to pursue this career. I still have a great love for photography and a great respect for journalism. I think a photograph can communicate the story so much more vividly than the words attempting to portray it. The point of view of the journalist is less obvious and in some ways more objective. The photographer records what she sees. Through cropping and printing and color choices some of the feelings or viewpoints of the photographer may come through, but the image is primarily an objective representation.

During the protests I have found myself shoving my camera in total strangers' faces and capturing their expressions, moods and signs. To me the signs have been this moving global art exhibit of creative thoughts. Some are well crafted, but most have been very clever in their wording and graphic representation of what their makers believe. So are my photos of these signs and these people art?

I am considering doing more with these images, perhaps creating a quilt of printed imagery on fabric, perhaps printing them as cyanotypes, perhaps developing them into posters, not sure yet. It feels like there is so much raw potential here. Some of the images to me can stand alone as outstanding photographs. We'll see where these go, but let me know what you think. Are these art?

Here are 3 slideshows of my images. I think it is interesting to see the desperation in the images from the Thursday that the bill passed. The images from February seem more carnival like. The images from the tractor rally show the seriousness of people's attitudes, this is less about a party and more about our lives. Let me know what you think...

Big Tractor Rally and More...Welcome Back Fab 14

The Day the Bill Passed

February When All This Started

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Impending Deadline of An Art Show

I have an April 2nd deadline coming up for entering work into the MATA Spring Membership exhibit. So here I am on March 9th with not even a glimmer of an idea what I will create. Each night I come home from school around 5:00 and crash on the couch and watch back to back Bones episodes and just stare. I am the ultimate definition of a couch potato.

I could blame this melancholy and lethargy on winter or the budget crisis or my job, but the truth is that I am being just purely lazy. I know that some of it is exhaustion, but as I proved when pursuing a Masters degree in art a few years back there is so much more time in your schedule than you realize. Staying up late to make art is rewarding. Turning the TV off allows one to paint or draw or knit or dream or read. I know this, like I know a lower fat diet and fruits and veggies and exercise are good for me, yet I make poor choices. Claiming to be too, tired. The truth is that many nights as I stare at the TV I fall asleep and wake up an hour later with contact lens crusted to my eyes and the feeling I forgot to do something. Then I go to bed and get up and do it all over again.

So where does the spark, the initiative to make art after the 9-10 hour work day giving your heart and soul to your students come from? How do you avoid being a couch potato? I used to go exercise after school and it made me feel more energetic, but it also meant I got home a lot later and got started on my free time even later. How do you find the energy, the creativity to CREATE.

I know it is discipline, drive, will power... I seem to lack all of these right now. The budget crisis and attack on teachers hasn't helped I know that. The conversation has been so demoralizing and negative. I have really begun to wonder if what I do really matters. It has been hard to say the least.

I think I need to make a loose, expressionistic painting that is therapeutic, non-judgmental and perhaps just for me, not for the art competition. What would be the worse thing that happens? I feel better and make some art. Now where are my canvas and paints?