Believe it or not, I am beginning to see the process of image editing as much more of a creation process than post-production one. I’m not sure if this is because I am growing into a more substantial vision for how I want my final images to look or because I am beginning to feel more comfort with significantly shaping my images after the shutter has been clicked. Either way, this perspective of editing as image-making has cause my editing process to be much more enjoyable. It is real “studio time” as opposed to a necessary evil of photography.
However, the one drawback of this is that my editing time has definitely increased. Instead of editing within the bounds of my original intent, now I find myself increasingly asking, “how far can this image be pushed”? Pushed to what end? I’m not always sure, but sometimes it is to be “much more muchier”.
This shift has also had me begin revisiting my artist statement. Exciting, right? Ok, all sarcastic remarks aside, it is something that I’ve been wrestling with internally over the last couple years. It seems as soon as I finally finish a good artist statement, it has taken just long enough to craft it that it no longer really applies or feels authentic. As a result, my statement has remained static (and pretty much not true) for the past few years.
But as I said, this shift in image editing philosophy feeds well into a revamped artist statement. Specifically, when I am making work (especially traditionally representational “landscape” type work) I want to push beyond perception. What does that mean? Eh…, I’m still working out the details and how that applies across all work I make, but certain parts of it I really like so far. Hopefully more on this to come.
So this all begs the questions, “Does everyone view image editing this way? Am I just behind the curve as a photography traditionalist?”
Its been a busy few weeks for various reasons, one of which was that I made it my task to move my studio. Right now I’m using the loft, which has been great, but since I’ve made my art home there for 3 years, it has become less functional and more storage space. So not its time to clear that out, which in this case includes getting rid of some old work.
I’ve cleaned my studio before, but the prospect of simply throwing out things that I created, had spent hours thinking about and making perfect, was simply not a happy thought. But, the truth of the matter is, I was storing a lot of work that would never see the light of day again. So I’ve been tossing stuff, but what began as a semi-heartbreaking exercise has now morphed into something akin to writing an artist statement. I think most artist end up doing what I did: doing little experiments, making tests and creating a trial version for a work or series. And now I have lots of these little (and not so little) artworks that may not represent my finest or most refined efforts, but mean a lot to me as part of the process. And then there is always that nagging feeling of what if I return to this and try to make work in a similar way in the future? But, like writing an artist statement, I have to arrive at a place where I can strip down my practice to its core. The scraps of process testing that I have always done, and always kept as references are an essential part of how I work, but returning to them has almost never been. So, I’ll let it go, or at least a lot of it.
This clearing out has also made me ask myself the question, what do I need as an artist? I can’t say I have a definite answer, but I know that part of it does include having references all around me. I am not the type of person who typically generates ideas out of thin air. Rather, through learning a process I can see new ways of saying something that I want to. That’s by no means a profound realization, but maybe it is something that can get me out of future ruts. I’ve got to keep learning, and keeping some kind of reference of what I’ve learned or know how to do around me, to keep in my mind a list of possibilities.
The Center for Fine Art Photography requested to have his website so that they could put it on their blog PERSPECTIVES, so we had to take his old website up a notch. No worries! Of course this blog will remain here, but his work, resume, and artist statement will be displayed here: at benpanter.moonfruit.com. If you’ve never had a chance to see the current body of work, I highly recommend going to the portfolio page.
If you want to make a website for yourself, I think moonfruit has a great WYSWYG editor with Flash components. Although I had to make sure to have the most recent version of Flash, because otherwise it would just not work correctly.
praise God who holds in his hand our life and all our ways