Sunday, May 09, 2010

It's Right In Front of Me

Sometimes the answer to all your dilemmas is right there. In front of your face. Sometimes the answer is as simple as this: do your own thing, let others do theirs. That might take the form of not going along with FFP to workout at the country club and rather pretending to workout across the hall in the condo gym and really sitting here and working the Sunday NY Times magazine crossword and then blogging. It might be more complicated than that. Not trying to make others love what you love and not trying to be more than the audience for others' efforts, rather than a cheerleader and promoter. Not trying to be all things to all people, to be every place at once and to get people together who can allegedly help one another.

The head picture today was shot on South Congress at Uncommon Objects. I like it, particularly the way my face is pretty distinct except obscured by the ornate candelabra.

I was trying to work the aforementioned crossword puzzle in a printout from the Times digest (rather than in the magazine itself). There was a typo that caused puzzlement. (Or, you know, extra puzzlement.) Last week there was one also. Why always look for other people's typos? (Even if, as in this case, it interferes with your pleasure?) Mother's Day is driving me crazy as people keep saying "Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's [sic] out there." I had an e-mail the other day where an accusation on a heated topic used an adjective where and adverb belonged. For some reason, both FFP and I leapt on that. Just like we always do with something in print. Ignoring the meaning, ignoring the accusations, going for the syntax.

But I digress into my digressions. We were talking about art (were you here the last few days?) and what it represents and I mentioned we might discuss the delicious whiff of criminality that some art carries.

Today's picture has triggered my discussion above about things that are right in front of you or "as plain as the nose on your face." I was looking at how my obscured but recognizable face is an element of the 'meaning' of my 'art.' When I made an artist's statement back in 2006, I initially used a picture with the reflection of people, but absent myself. My partner in artistic pretending, SuRu, offered that the artist often makes an appearance and I added this revision. I appeared in that shot, although you have to look twice since the (non-reflected) person and shop window are so distracting. And, my face is obscured by a camera. (My jeans, hiking boots and black blazer are recognizable, though. My tramping about in other cities outfit. Paris in this case.)

What happens to obscure my face, what interferes with a pure mirror image, is important to the messages of the pieces. I love this picture because the whimsical irregular painting on the wall obscures the face. (It's reflected in the window of the sales center for the W condos, with part of the model building.) Whether obscured by folds and sparkles or partly by the camera and a pig's head or by light streaming from an opposite window, it's me. For sure. I love this one where my hubby is completely recognizable (to me) from the back with his head turned slightly.

To loop back around to the whole criminal element of these shots: I have actually been approached by a security guard at least once (at the fancy Domain shopping center) about it not being 'allowed' to take pictures of shop windows. This is the merchants, shopping mall people not wanting competitors to rip on show windows, I think. Because he said that it was OK to take pictures of people or the art work (outdoor sculpture, etc.). He really didn't know how to respond when I said I was taking a picture of myself in the window. Of course, when passersby appear, I (almost) never ask their permission. Photographers take crowd shots or details or full-on individuals. Sometimes they have permission, often not. With my shop windows, the art of them and the things they reflect may well belong to someone else. As does most everything but the sky and plants. Even domesticated animals are a 'possession' of someone else. Like graffiti artists putting their work on things, photographers and even painters take away images of things.

For all that I feel like this work is mine alone. Especially when it's stamped with an image of me, however obscure.

2 comments:

Dallas Jerry said...

NorthPark, the toniest place to shop in Dallas, wouldn't let me shoot store windows, either, but it's OK to shoot the sculptures scattered around the mall.
Writing of typos: I usually get my kicks out of reading the closed captioning on my TV. I suspect automatic equipment is being used, as the spelling can be atrocious or even jumbled up.

Linda Ball said...

I was also busted for shooting pics inside a fancy grocery store. Their particular arrangement of fruit is copyrighted, I guess! With all the tiny digital cameras and camera phones out there, though, it is getting harder and harder to stop people taking pictures. It isn't quite as criminal as graffiti, I don't suppose! Art-wise, though, maybe graffiti is more original. Then there are my picture OF graffiti! It's a rabbit hole.