Today I visited my friends at Lens & Repro photo rental house in NYC. Steven and his brother Jeffery, along with their amazing staff are always there when I need them to help me. While it would be nice to wander the streets experiencing “defining moments,” and taking world class photos a la Bresson, I have worked very hard to bring my technical skills to a level that can help me achieve my conceptual goals. Without the help of my many tech savvy friends and the staff of L&R, I would be much further behind. Without mastery of form, you cannot go very far in any art.
Recently went to see the Richard Serra show at the Moma. When I experience his sculptures in person, I am always struck at how they must require an enormous undertaking of technique, yet I experience them as natural objects. People react to to his structures like they they do massive rock formations, or waterfalls. By the time I got to the Moma, they were already taking the some of the show down, so all of 6th Ave was lined with giant wide-load flat beds on which lay huge semi circle slabs of iron. Deconstructed, they seemed more like man-made structures, once their process was visible their magic dissipated. So much of artistic endeavor is process. Some of the best advice my photo mentor every gave me was, if I ever wanted to be happy as an artist, I had to love the process as much as the product. Serra’s art is about the beauty of intelligence and awareness and our ability to create. I rarely go to a show at the Moma and see kids running around joyfully playing and enjoying the exhibit. Luckily, I do love the process of photography, even when it is incredibly frustrating and goes all wrong. Serra’s sculptures remind me though that the tension between the technical and the sublime must always be in balance.
The Moma has an interesting interview & making of video here: Richard Serra
One of my fav photogs recently did an entire book photographing Serra’s work. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s strange and mysterious images capture how your sense of balance and reality are thrown off inside Serra’s creations.