Photographer at Large
Fear about Others
Art & Fear
Fear about Others
Starting in the 1980s my first photographs of people were taken from such a distance the subjects were indiscernible from ants…small ants! In recent years I’ve been encouraged to get close, and have been told that I can’t get close enough to my subject. You’re kidding me right?!? Get so close to the subject that they might identify me as a photographer? That’s crazy talk.
Progressively my initial level of discomfort about my close proximity to a photographic subject has eased. The imagined consequence of a subject suddenly identifying me as a photographer hasn’t turned out as horrific as I first expected. Some days I photograph people as symbolic forms rather than as an individual with a personality. Some days I work with shadows, or reflections. Some days I get close. It doesn’t hurt…much.
The fear about others extends to critiques of my work. Sharing my personal thoughts as expressed through my
But it turns out that the critique of others comes from a position of care and concern for my development. The feedback actually helps improve the results. Being able to understand and accept well founded feedback has deepened my understanding of the craft. Who would have imagined back then that such a physiological calamity could be so constructive?! The gradual progress in this regard has ensured that now a piece of me doesn’t want to die when others care enough to provide feedback. The best outcome is that I learn more about my work and as I do, I learn a little more about my vision.
“…what we really gain from the art-making of others is’courage-by-association’. Depth of contact grows as fears are shared — and thereby disarmed — and this comes from embracing art as process, and artists as kindred spirits.” - Bayles and Orland, ‘Art & Fear’.