Shadows of Self Doubt

I-5 Triplets copyright 2007 Douglas Stockdale

I have a very nagging issue. With my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip I have added a new visual element to these images and one that I am not fully reconciled with. Each image has the foreground, if not the entire image, with a large degree of diffusion that blurs the image.

In preparation for submitting this series to a gallery for consideration, I had to complete an artistic statement, which is now posted on my web site in conjunction with many of the images. But now having written this, do my images with this diffusion now support what I have tried to create? Especially when I write that these road side monuments “need a longer look” and then I add an element that makes the longer look potentially harder to accomplish. This is what I have been waxing back and forth over all weekend.

Then while reviewing the 5B4 blog, Mr. Wiskets adds this regarding a book review;

There seems to be a strong trend in contemporary documentary photography that relies on those visual gymnastics to wow the viewer into paying attention as if one doesn’t trust the power of the subject to do the job alone. Sure, it makes for interesting and dynamic imagery, but one question: Is the potential understanding of the subject amplified by those attention getting mannerisms of the photographer or is it just a self conscious formalism?”

Now I do believe that I am creating a quasi-documentary series that is also a personal project. But even so, as a personal project what am I accomplishing with the diffusion effect? And if I don’t have an immediate good answer, that then becomes my answer; an un-needed element.

Am I afraid that this series and my project will not be taken seriously if it does not have some kind of “new” as though I am trying to advance what photography “art” is? Doesn’t my vision have enough clarity that I have to go looking for a visual crutch? But to be sure, I am going to redo the entire series without the diffusion and make side by side image comparrisons (and gracefully decline the gallery option at this time).

And so again with this series I feel that I continue to grow some more as to who I am and how do I want to create and communicate. Even if I do decide to pull back to a more conventitional “straight” image, I have pushed my boundaries and learned more about myself in the process.

Best regards, Doug

FYI, the image with this post is an un-diffused version from my previous post on May 15, same title.


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