This is the house where my friend Chrissy Reed lives. She's a photographer, an artist, a carpenter, a gardener and chicken-raiser, a collector of beautiful things. She was kind enough to let me photograph her house again ( it's been almost three years ) for a position of sorts that I wanted to nail down. The love I have for her house is due to it's eclectic spirit, a small reflection of her spirit. She has a beautiful spirit. I love homes that reflect the heart of those that live in them, and am learning to appreciate that particular element over furniture that reflects a certain period of design, or some impersonal element... an impressive, pretty collection of books / publications. Something like that. I did not, unfortunately, have the opportunity to make a portrait of Chrissy this time.
'Man's continuity somehow comes through all the external things that constitute him... If the photographer is to have a chance of achieving a true reflection of a person's world--which is as much outside him as inside him--it is necessary that the subject of the portrait should be in a situation normal to him. We must respect the atmosphere which surrounds the human being, and integrate into the portrait the individual's habitat--for man, no less than animals, has his habitat. Above all, the sitter must be made to forget about the camera and the photographer who is handling it.' .Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952
I feel as though I am at an interesting point with my work, in the sense that there were many things that I believed, three years ago or so, would be held in high regard in my life for the rest of my life, in my own mind, maybe even the minds of others. I don't really care for those things much anymore. It seems that the things I do care about now, that I fight for and desire, and work towards, are mostly unseen. They are either unseen because they involve matters of the heart, my heart and my family's individual hearts, or they are precious things that I don't care to lend out. They are worth too much to me to give away to make an impression. I think that is what I am trying to say; I am past the point of trying to make impressions, which is me admitting that yes, at many points, I believed the only way to progress in my work was to make good impressions, outside of simply just doing the work. I find myself now at a point where I want the work to reflect the things that do matter to me. Years ago, I didn't realize some of the things I see now. Things like -- after loss, grief, self-blaming and self-doubt, huge mistakes, struggling to accept forgiveness, struggling to forgive, and fighting real hard with the lie that nothing matters anyway; after seeing gains and losses, money made and money gone, seen the blips of temporal success and surface-level acceptance and affection, then stared long and hard at what you really have to count on, what you really can stake your life on, and found that what actually matters has nothing to do with those things; in the midst of wondering if it was possible to be truly known yet not taken advantage of, if hope and love were worth risk, and finding that yes, more than worth risk, love chooses me, love does fight, love does hope, and hope does not disappoint; after letting all of those very heavy, but truthful and beautiful things wash over me, letting them change me, somehow everything superficial is sifted and doesn't hold it's appeal anymore. I would rather shape my life after the things that I know to be true.
Truth be told, my work is just that -- work. I am so thankful for my work, for the places it has taken me, the people I've met, the moments I've experienced, the strength, perseverance, quickness it has taught me. But just as in the quote above, there are aspects in which this type of work invites me to come and lose the shadows, the fear, the stress, the sense of ownership over my life and my time.
'For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry--it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself. To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. To take photographs means to recognize--simultaneously and within a fraction of a second--both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye, and one's heart on the same axis. As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other forms of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's originality. It is a way of life.' .Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1976
If I were to make a list of things I would like to see come from this life-shaping time, it would be something similar to... build a darkroom, do studio work, begin sewing again. Release collections of prints and textile goods along a theme. Continue to work with my friends and collaborators whom I love and respect (Erin, Eve, Jodi). Think about getting my MFA and teaching somewhere. Most obviously, most importantly, press into my family, be present with my husband. Make the main thing the main thing -- our time together and our home life.