I passed another weekend in front of my computer obsessing over my work while trying to update my website. I sometimes find it kind of disturbing that while I engaged with photography I can go without food, water, the bathroom, sitting down, standing up, sleep, conversation, money and just about anything else. It is as if nothing else exists and I get so involved that the world seems to fall away. I worry that I should be better at time management. But once I start I become so obsessed with getting it right that I just keep going. I literally had to force myself yesterday to get up from my computer at 4:30 pm to address the sink full of dishes and an apartment that needed cleaning. Of course, I was right back to photoshop as soon as the rubber gloves came off.
I have noticed that in the documentaries I have ever seen about photographers, most of them seem way more hardcore than I am. And I been lucky enough to be witness to some of the greatest photographers re-print a mural over and over again for their show adding one point of magenta or subtracting one point of yellow. Or send a print back to Laumont or elsewhere for multiple rounds until is is right. The first b&W darkroom class I took was at SVA. The teacher was a National Enquirer photographer who was obsessed with Gary Winogrand. As a young man, he had taught himself photography by shooting all weekend and staying up all night during the week developing and printing because he had a day job. At the time I thought he was a crusty maniac, but now I understand. I am not sure if the nature of the photographic process pushes you to be like this, or if photography attracts OCD types. But I don’t think you can truly become the artist you want without this level of sacrifice.
Diane Arbus was a single Mom and at some points was completely broke during her later career. At least then the Westbeth artist residences in NY, were still a viable living option. In the Met Revelations exhibit book, there are several letters in which she appeals for help to her various supporters and friends. And yet she made some incredible work despite this struggle. There are always outside pressures and the reality of real life needs at the edges of any artistic endeavour. Finding a balance is always difficult. But in order to make art that seems a part of the world or relevant you must be of it. So, bring on the cable bill and pile of dirty dishes. Maybe there is a photo project in them some where. And so what if I lose 7 or 10 hours on a weekend day, I just have to make sure I make it to swim a couple times a week so my legs don’t atrophy.