Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Un Conte de Fées.

Full moon lunacy. As I hauled in the laundry last night, the line heavy with sheets and towels glowed under the full lady's light even though the view wasn't direct. Bright moonlight is magical to me. After folding under the moon, I moved around catching up on the state of the house. Basically doing everything save for my paper. Discipline totally escapes me in these moments. Terrible. I don't know how to change this about myself. I understand it is in my mind and something that is imperative to learn, but I continue to fight it. Studenthood, I forgot what it meant. Difficult and laughably easy in the same breath.

Strange dichotomy, new territory.

Yesterday was a very inspiring day at school. I walked into my ARTH History of Photography class and sat down across from Alfred Stieglitz, a hero of mine. So, 1840 onwards. Lately I have been turning the effect technology has had on photography since the medium's debut in 1839 (partially out of research and partially out of interest) over and over in thought. My history class is wonderful--my favorite--which is so surprising. The images Prof. Murray selects are mostly new to me and it is incredibly inspiring to watch the progression of photography waltz across a screen. Large format. Obviously, quality is lost with this method. Museums are important, this I am learning.

What progression in a relatively short period of time! The book Great Photographers it is very dear to me. I was first introduced to Alfred Stieglitz in said book last February while reading from Laura's collection in the reading chair of our new home. Wonderful. Yesterday was exciting simply for the feeling of piecing together past information with new. Understanding.

Photography took off in 1839 with the introduction of the daguerreotype (a cumbersome and delicate print process on metal and glass plates). Reproductions were impossible until the Calotype took over (paper process, less finicky, reproducible but still not accessible to the public).  Photography took hold of the public with the release of the Kodak camera (round frame initially) in 1888, 49 years after the daguerreotype's debut. People could mail order Kodak cameras loaded with 100 exposures for ten dollars. Hefty price. Fill it up, mail it back, wait a week, keep shooting. Genius. I especially love the photos from this time period. People starting to smile with the introduction of capturable spontaneity. People laughing in a pond, modest bathing suits. Families around new babies born in an exciting time! Life was being documented in a way that had never been possible before!

These images inspire me.

Source. Louis Kaplan
Seated Woman with Bird. c. 1855. Source. Hugh Welch Diamond
As far as Alfred Stieglitz was concerned, photography was it's own art form. He spent his entire life proving this point. In the early years of the new century, people by now long used to the idea of photography were beginning to realize the purpose of such technology was much more complex than understood. What could it become? More than a research tool, more than a platform for science. Stieglitz brought his European education back to his home in America and set up art shop, opened photography salons and galleries, as well as editing photography publications such as Camera Work.

Here is a slice from my drawing book, hand copied verbatim from the 1971 Time Inc. publication of Great Photographers.

August 2011, Montreal.

Who knows what will come of school. Most of the time I feel too damn practical for the type of learning that is expected. Mentorship alternatives. Independent production. I understand that proper technique is imperative to any operation, but can this not be learned elsewhere? Hmm. I am constantly struggling with the validity of school in my personal journey. Can I do this on my own? Definitely. Would I have the same access that I am paying for now? No. Not necessarily. I find Montreal very difficult to network within. Winnipeg is incredible in that sense. If you have the drive to make something happen, there is always space to be had and people to call. Growing up is a funny thing. I can't help feeling that I am making some sort of mistake. Then again, I fear the things I do not know. Plow through, try something else? Will I know when it is time to go? So many questions these days. 

Emptiness and hesitation. Or is that just practicality and good sense? Je sais pas.

I heard Francois Dompierre's piano rendition of "Un Conte de Fées" from his Flash-back album on Radio Classique this morning and it filled me right up. Goodness I love the sound of the piano. Can't seem to find the song online, sorry. Here is another image, to close.

Bow River, Blackfoot. c. 1926. Edward Sheriff Curtis.

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