St. Louis

The Clarity and Charity of Time

I am not a patient person in general and definitely not a patient photographer. This is often at odds with the analogue, film-based photography that I practice. You might think that digital would be my thing, given my impatience. But no. I have to shoot old school and then practically run to the nearest darkroom.

Like Popeye, I am what I am. Yet, I am now involved in the long process of inputting, organizing and otherwise getting my photographic shit together while enjoying my new, custom-built computer, dedicated to my photo workflow. This means I have been viewing some long-forgotten scans. It’s been, well…eye-opening. It’s like I’m seeing some of this work with new eyes. And perhaps I am.

As I revisit this old work, new images now attract my attention. I still like most of the ones that originally got my juices going, but I’m finding some gems (to me, anyway) that have just as much merit and potential. I feel like a musician who is reinterpreting an old song. I’m thinking of my favorite version of Springsteen’s Born To Run; a very slow live version, not the album version. This is also like the advice that I received (and I still pass on to my writing students) about putting your piece of writing away in a drawer and then coming back days or weeks or even months — and it’s like you’re looking at something someone else wrote. Perhaps they (you) did.

This image is a case in point. I was shooting a light-leaky Agfa Isolette camera. Most of the 15 frames are shit. But a few from this sequence spark my imagination. This was lit with 100% golden-hour sunlight right in my own backyard. I think it has a David Lynchian quality.

Maybe I was channeling Lynch’s eye.

Monochrome Pentimento by CB Adams, Qwerky Photography.

Monochrome Pentimento by CB Adams, Qwerky Photography.

This I Believe - On Artist's Statements

I’m not alone in fearing and loathing artist’s statements. I’ve written my share of la-dee-da and contrarian and tortured artiste and obtuse versions — usually at the behest of whatever exhibition or call for entry had requested or required one. I have come to realize, however, that they can and do serve a good purpose when written with the proper intent. They can be a way for others to understand, with limits, what a photographer is about, who he or she is.

My new approach to artist’s statements is to follow the guidance I received from a history professor at university. He was providing the standard by which he would be grading our term papers. “What do you mean,” he said. “And how do you know.”

I’m not going to present an artist’s statement here. I am, however, gong to say a quick something about this photo — why I like it and why I hope you appreciate it, too. I believe what “makes” this rather ubiquitous bench scene is, of course, the vines and other vegetation growing through it. For me, though, it’s the plucky branch extending from the left, like a feather boa (to this associative mind, anyway), that sets this apart from others like it. I also like the contrasting horizontal lines and patterns, and that sliver of the basement window.

So there. I said it. I made a statement. Talk amongst yourselves.

“Boa” From the Series Closer To Home by CB Adams

“Boa” From the Series Closer To Home by CB Adams