Saturday, September 29, 2012

My latest exhibit, Lubbock in the rearview mirror, now has eighteen shots, all instagrammed, all square, all from the mirror of our Kia van which just, by the way, got its black-and-white Texas tags. This exhibit is a kind of examination of what happens when you go around, always somewhat obsessed with where you've been. Also, if you know Lubbock, you know that having things like the Marsha Sharp around make your life more convenient, but in the end become the environment you live in a lot; therefore, you become more focused on these things. One might consider them a blight on the landscape, yes, but they are also pretty, in their own kind of way.

Now I've only been in Lubbock for about two months, and I can tell you, half the time you're in the car, it's somewhat dangerous to whip out the phone and just use it on whatever you see. Whole swaths of town, particularly the pretty part up by downtown and in the east, have gone unphotographed. It's not because I'm chicken. The other day I was downtown, and an enormous rainbow appeared over the main building downtown. At the same time it had rained and there were playas all over the place swallowing whole cars. But I was picking up Chinese food and had to take it home quickly, and I was on streets I wasn't familiar with. That's always a little dicey here. What I'm trying to say is, you're getting a view of what I have time to shoot, the places where I might actually be a passenger, and places where I can shoot with less pressure.

I may or may not get better at this with time, but there's another possibility: I'll just stop being so obsessed with "where I've been" and focus more on not framing what's in front of me. For the moment I'm not too worried about using the cellphone camera as my main tool. It seems kind of pop to me, even though I readily admit I've sacrificed some quality. It makes me feel like a traveler in the new world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

so I post to this blog every six months or so, but that's how long it takes before I actually feel like a pop artist, when most of the time I'm doing other stuff, like writing, or moving, or working, or parenting. In any case I just came through another time like that so I thought I'd share it.

What happened was, I moved to Lubbock TX, and, thinking about that song about Lubbock in the rearview mirror, I started taking pictures in the rearview mirror. Now I have about eight of them, but there are a few more on my lubbock site.

The main principle is clear: your phone is enough; you're in the car enough; virtually every picture is lubbock in the rearview mirror. Mirrors offer the constant tendency to frame and label: what's in the mirror is where you've been. What's not, is the reality you face. The picture is the contrast between the two, with, of course, the shape of whatever mirror dominating the framing. Instagram tends to sharpen the colors (Jefe) and put them in squares with little black boxes around them; I'm not sure I like that, but I've been conforming the pictures to the same technique.

I used to be critical of my father and photography in general by saying that it tended to put a frame around reality, when reality itself needed to be unframed. Now, I'd rather use photography to make statements about the tendency to frame itself. When you're in a car, especially in the WalMart parking lot, for example, what's in the mirror is not necessarily where you've been. Sometimes it offers escape, as the title "Lubbock in the rearview mirror" itself suggests. But escape is one of many themes I'm working with. Sometimes it's simply a glimpse into another world, one I barely understand.

I plan on working with this exhibit, perhaps labeling the photos. For now, it is what it is, about eight of the best.