JiaShan, China, 2008 copyright Douglas Stockdale
Just to say it again, I am a photographer. Oh right, I am a lot of things; husband, friend, dad, Papa, etc. But as to what and how I creatively express myself, I have settled on being a photographer. For about 15 years I was a painter. Before that I was a photographer. So you are probably wondering what this is all about?
My insecurity, plain and simple.
Up to recently, my web gallery read ‘Douglas Stockdale, Fine Art Photographer’, but now I have deleted the “Fine Art” in front of the Photographer subtitle. Just ‘Photographer’. When I came back to photography I had the same insecurity as many others, that is, if you are not sure that what you see (of my photographs) constitutes ‘art’, let me help you and reassure you that I am indeed an ‘artist’. Oh, by the way, painters are really no different, they are just as insecure as the rest of us (I am not a house painter, but a painter of houses), so don’t think that this is just a photo hang-up!
So why the change now? Part of this is getting comfortable in my own skin. Part is getting my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip published in LensWorklast month. The last part is reading David Vestal’s column in the March issue of Photo Techniques about Improper Nouns. And yes, it’s all about the use of the ‘fine art’ words. To summarize Vestal’s article if you have to actually tell someone you are a fine artist, what does that say about you and them??
Yes, if someone recognizes as what you have made as being something creative, they will. If they have to be told, well, I think you get the point.
As a photographer we are more dependent on our eyes, vision, thoughts and equipment. And now that equipment can be very simple: auto-this and auto-that. Or we can make it terribly complex such as the large format cameras, film development techniques and Palladium printing folks. (With all that difficult manipulation it just has to be artistic, eh?)
As a painter one had to have some manual dexterity, color selection, ability to draw a line and you worked from a very blank canvas. Seems a little more evident with as a painter that you are creative and really are an artist, eh? Nope, you can paint and it can still look like crap and be thoughtless and pedant. I have been to enough art shows to have seen this.
Not to try to argue the creative side of photography because thank goodness it is all too evident. I hope it’s the realization that what’s in your head that counts. And then its about getting it expressed in a medium that works for me such as photography does for me.
It does not mean that I am any less insecure, but now, when asked, I am a photographer. Maybe even an Urban Landscape Photographer. But a photographer.
Best regards, Doug