I’m going to start a new feature here this week: I’m going to start posting photos.
When we were stranded in Amsterdam last during the Iceland volcano fiasco, we decided to ease the tension of being trapped (I called it “maintenance,” as in, maintaining a healthy stress level) by visiting a few of the museums on our Museumkaart. One day we dropped into the FOAM, a gallery of contemporary photography, and as we browsed some of the exhibits, Jennifer leaned over and whispered to me, “You know, if you wanted to, you could do this. Your pictures are as good as these.” I think my wife is being sweet–I’m just a hack, and some of the exhibits were astoundingly good–but one of the exhibits did feel at first a bit pedestrian, and I have always loved photography enough that I think if I had decent equipment and could afford to devote more time to it, I might not be half bad. As it is, we did buy a better camera for this trip and I’d been experimenting with some of it’s more advanced features, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship with narrative and visual art. This was especially true on this day: that exhibit that seemed at first pedestrian was actually driven by an interest in photographic narrative. The artist cited Chekhov as an influence, in fact, saying he hoped to capture the kind of honesty and mundane beauty in his pictures that Chekhov captured in his fictional characters. One of his techniques was to take sequences of photos and then arrange them sequentially to tell a story, almost like a graphic short story. Given my recent interest in visual narrative and sequential art, I was drawn to the work in a way that I might not otherwise have been, and I started thinking about my own photos in a different way.
So I decided to start posting photos, one each Wednesday, that I think are visually interesting. If I can progress to the point I’d like to, I want to also start posting photos that I think are narratively interesting–I want to try and tell stories in pictures.
We’ll see how this plays out over time, but here’s the first one, a shot from the Katten Kabinet, a museum in Amsterdam devoted entirely to cats and cat-related art.
(PS: Today will be a double post: Look for my travel journal, Day 5, later today.)