Aug 9, 2010

not a good review of my work...

So I've done pretty good in photo comps over the years, some wins, some mediocre honorable mentions. Most recently I entered a photo competition (w/out categories) for Canteen Magazine. I've been a fan of the magazine and the articles, art, & photography they publish for a while.

The cool thing about this competition was that they published a bunch of the juror's comments. I didn't win, but I was lucky enough to be the winner of the Viewer's (or entrants' choice) Award. Which was humbling in it's own right, since it was from peers and other artists.

The most recent issue of Canteen Magazine came out with more comments by the jurors... below is one about me... needless to say some folks get my work and enjoy it, but a whole other bunch do not. Since I dropped out of school in 10th grade, I needed a Dictionary twice to understand what this dude was saying, I guess it makes sense he's not a fan.

The results of the Entrants' Choice poll, in which contest participants voted for their favorite submissions, revealed an overwhelming preference for pictures of staged tableaux. The majority of the vote getters, along with the clear winner—Aaron Hobson—relied on staged constructions. In general, I think we treated staged photography pejoratively* (one of the words I had to look up... meaning to disparage or belittle). In the case of Aaron Hobson, the work, to me, read too much like either high-concept summer movie or a retreating of on-the-road clich├ęs.

Perhaps the wide, cinematic shape of the frame is an unnecessary gimmick; the pictures become film stills from nonexistent but familiar narratives, not originally authored works that imply or develop a narrative we've never seen before. Considering the vertiginous* (second word I had to look up... it means inclined to frequent and often pointless change) catalogue of images that already exists, why not look for new stories to tell?


ESfishdoc said...

I'd say he had to look those words up also. Obvious he doesn't "get it".

Looking at entries online I see there were some real dogs. Interesting to have photo contest without catagories.

Cody said...

Ugh. I mean.. I've got a college degree in rhetoric and I still didn't know what "vertiginous" meant. Unnecessary use of big words. Joe Reifer once told me under similar circumstances to remember the Dude from The Big Lebowski: "Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man!"

Clarence said...

I have been quietly following your blog for two years. This cannot be the first negative review you have had. I think negative feedback back can be very helpful.
Perhaps it is the only one you have shared with your follers. I have often wondered if you have a day job, as many artist do. Including myself. Having a day job really affect my output.

Aaron said...

thanks for the feedback richard, cody, and Clarence.

@ cody... I use that Lebowski line all the time. Love that line.

@ clarence... thanks for chiming in after 2 years. indeed I have had negative reviews, both in person with critics, gallery visitors, and with the written word. I would not be human to not react defensive. After all, I have shown myself and put my body, face, and creativity out into the public. That doesn't mean I should not learn from it and even have a bunch of beers with the negative reviewer or non-fan of my work.

I've always said to my wife that I think I could actually have a few beers with G.W. Bush if I ever met him at a saloon one day. Not that he's not a fan of my work (maybe he is?) but that's just the type of person I am. I don't give a shit about anyone's background, beliefs, lifestyle, abilities, profession, etc... as long as we can have a conversation along with a few beers and laugh or talk about something we share in common, it's all good with me. I posted this review because it was the most articulate of the bunch. My personal quest to document and share my life's stories for myself and to have others relate to and enjoy them for themselves is not driven by anyone else but me.

And yes, I have a day job, 2 kids, a wife and a photography hobby. I can't remember which friend once called me a "lunchbox" photographer, but it was the best description ever. I typically shoot during lunch breaks or quick shots after the kid has gone to bed. It is tough, but it is a crucial part of what I do. I doubt I would have the same degree of creativity and cause for "release" if that normal life was not there.

Excessive drinking can cause excessive blog responses. Sorry.


Michael Jackson said...

I find negative reviews are like a quick slap in the face - they kind of wake you up and you forget about them after a few days. I love it when people keep on pushing forward with their ideas - even after bad press - determined to get where they want to go.