Ken Smith  fine art photography  

on my mind series artist statement

I looked into myself and realized I felt nothing was clear. All was vague and ambiguous. The future, the quality of life, my sense of self. I felt the need to express these feelings in my work. Although photography is innately a medium of clarity, with high quality lenses and the maximum resolution and sharpness, I needed to change my techniques to most profoundly express what I was feeling.

Throughout the process of working with the plant subjects, I took my time to form a closeness, belong, become the subjects I was working with. It is true that the artist puts something into his work, by taking time with it. Observing, touching, making a relationship of empathy. In trade, he may absorb something that is imbued within the subject if he chooses to patiently wait for it to be shown to him.

I used the scanner and translucent materials to create an amorphous aura of light and grain in the images. I worked in color with a black background, and in warm black & white with a white background. For the feelings I had were not limited to one or the other. Such is the nature of ambiguity.

If the images were crystal clear, then I would sense I was shown everything, and would find it hard to enter the work. There would be nothing to wonder about, to question. But by leaving the images as vague as my feelings, I had room to enter the work, waunder here and there, in the mystery. There is an interplay of transitory beauty and doubt. Printed large, the images ask to be penetrated and felt.

The most important thing about the 'on my mind' series is that I listened to my feelings. That I was available to them. Without that part of the process, the pictures are just images of static objects, like any other photographer could do with any other subject. The images began with my emotions, and I hope result in emotions within those viewers who later spend time with them.


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