For feedback, I showed Frédéric some of my initial work for the next exposition, a couple concept photos that capture the essence of my theme.
He told me I was being shy. That my work isn’t shocking or disturbing enough. Technically, it’s perfect, but lacking the qualities that make it art. For my subject, there’s a fine line between artistry and commercialism, and I haven’t yet crossed that line.
It made perfect sense, what he said.
My subject includes a lot of skin. But as a photographer who doesn’t have an established reputation, I find it extremely difficult to get people to take their clothes off, even for non-nude photos. I’m trying to work on a limited budget, with limited materials. I can’t afford to pay people to be my models, so I rely on the favours of friends1.
Working with models is a challenge in itself. There’s an element of uncertainty and unreliability when dealing with people, and being a control freak, this has proven to be extremely frustrating. It would have been simpler to photograph objects instead of people, but human shapes are the source of my interest.
It’s also difficult for me to photograph what is not considered “conventionally” beautiful (to my tastes, at least). Bless the beautiful, I once wrote.
In addition to all this, it’s hard for me to forget the meaning I’ve always placed in what I create. For this exhibit, I’m trying to create out of pure aestheticism. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I have to let go of these old habits.
At this point, the success of the show is still uncertain. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off in time. January will be busy. I know if I can overcome these challenges, I’ll be able to overcome so much more.
It’s become a test of myself more than anything else.