Goals Or Directions?
A Buddhist epigram I once read goes as follows:
Question: “How do you paint the perfect picture?”
Answer: “First you make yourself perfect and then you just paint naturally.”
I decided to apply that to photography – though naturally enough I’m still working on the first half of the project. What I like about it is the idea that a photograph might not be the product of circumstances but rather more a state of mind. That state of mind depends on careful cultivation but cannot do without skilful means either.
So with that general idea of working on myself photographically I have signed on for a few courses in 2019. First on the skilful means side is a darkroom course at Salford University where in a few weeks I should be able to get the basics of the dark art of wet printing. Second is a weekend course in March in making traditional cloth-bound hardback notebooks at Hot Bed Press. I am hoping to find a way of combining photograph and word which I can then put together through this kind of bookmaking. Then for the cultivation of the mind side I am taking an online course in modern western architecture – which means, apparently, from the Victorian period to the present day. I investigated this a bit in my photoseries The Smart Panopticon and now I am so intrigued by the whole subject that I feel I need to investigate it more deeply – not so much with the idea of gaining knowledge as with immersing myself in form, line, shape, light, space and solidity. That is all very photographic.
Maybe the outcome of all this will be a home-made, self-printed photobook on modern architecture but that is not the plan. I don’t have a plan. Direction is good but goals are tyrants. I just want to see where this goes with that Buddhist insight in mind. Obviously, you are not making yourself perfect but you are working on yourself which is the important thing.