New Learning Context

And somehow, it's March ...

I honestly don't have much to show photographically post-January as far as this project goes.

• The first couple of weeks were affected deeply by the postponed presentation. I had hit a solid pause to try to get that together, and figuring out my approach after proved time-consuming.
• Weather finally happened. Lots of rain-outs, chill-outs, etc. 
• Lots of illness hit. Mine and my subjects'. 
• The semester started and myself and many potential subjects have been swamped.
• I suffered a terrible string of broken gear. Namely my two primary flashes have bit the dust (kind of literally, smashing into the ground). I've patch worked a new kit, but makes consistency a bit tougher for the moment.
• I've been much more focused on some following things ...

I wanted to finally pin down a presentation I know I could afford and would mirror most of the best points of the successful semester presentation in May. I've got my shots down to about $130 per image, with very minimal assembly required. I should have a number of items to prove this by the end of Spring Break, as I begin assembling what I intend to be the final hanging pieces. This was a pretty expensive process, leading to several hundred dollars in errant prints and frame purchases. But I'm more confident than ever I can assemble as many of these photographs as I can afford – and maybe I can mount another GoFundMe campaign, or even a Kickstarter to furnish my estimated $3,000 cost. 

I'm trying to lay the ground work for a quick exit after my NLC presentation. I'm not financially capable of incurring MORE debt by entering yet another academic year. Nor do I have any interest on this taking any longer than it has to.

I've been entering various contests, sadly to no avail. I've got 3 more I'm going to chip my work into this week, and I'll know the results for those before late April. (Those include calls from Texas Photographic Society, A Smith Gallery, and PhotoPlace Gallery). 

I've also been working on a list of curators to contact, but I want to get my finished photos on a wall to photograph before I follow through on contacting them. It's not so much that I don't want to be criticized or hear negatives (something I've gotten a steady diet of for the last three years, I might add), it's that I want to be sure I have the best chance possible of giving them a presentation of work that isn't going to waste their time. I also don't want to contact people who already say on their sites that they do not take unsolicited work.

That said, I have attempted some conversations with some MFA-level teachers, to very little result. So I'll just have to hope my plan to elicit .... any kind of response ... is actually productive.

I have been reading a lot, still. A Jeff Wall essays book, about 5 or 6 other monographs, a collection of writing about women in art, Justine Kurland's "Spirit West," which is something I've been seeking out even before I arrived at TAMUC.

I've also gotten (somewhat) into poetry. I've been poring over Major Jackson of late. Lots of studying about symbolism and topics. Regional influence, influence of poetry on photography, and so on.

And finally, I've continued to explore the cinematic form, including more work into producing supplemental video. The video has fallen prey to "busy schedules," but I've got an opening in late March which should help things out. Meanwhile, I just feasted on "Moonlight," visually and philosophically. 

And to finally fix the work issue, I have about seven shoots scheduled for the next week, with plans to make some interstitial landscape shots, too. I feel like this will be mostly my final flourish before I complete a set for exhibition and have to turn my attention more fully to wrapping up the academic end of this degree. I'm sure I'll be making work during that, but it will have to be sporadic, or it will have to just join the body of work after this is done. This last string of images will include more indoor work, a few more landscapes featuring relics of East Texas industry, more colors of clothing, and some more action. I'll have nearly 80 images to pull whatever my final number is ... currently 30 is the most I could ever hope to afford to hang, even if I liked them all. And this isn't like 5 of the same shoot ... I am talking nearly 80 different photoshoots where I drag a bag, flash, stand and 20+ pound battery pack along whatever terrain I need to (sometimes half a mile) and try to fight the wind and not always succeed in catching the light after the legs of the stand fail or I had taken the weight off to move it. 

So in short, I have been working, researching, perfecting and consuming nonstop. As I did during the initial Summer-Fall period. Work is extremely time-consuming, but I couldn't do any of this if I couldn't support myself financially, so what can I do?