Submitting to the Void

Before I was a Samurai

My evening was spent sifting through my portfolio to find three photographs to submit for consideration to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery for their upcoming RMG Exposed Silent Auction. The task of matching only three images together to comprise a submission is much more difficult than choosing one or ten; one is a statement, while ten is a story. Three is art.

The final image I chose was taken from a batch of rough scans still sitting in a “To Do” folder. Shot in the Tsukiji Fish Market, I am in love with the monger’s intense concentration and the chiaroscuro created against the florescent background of the marketplace. The frozen flesh of the tuna becomes a still-life.

Everything I Need in a Dream

The second photograph is an awkward piece that keeps sticking out. I am unsure if it is the colour combinations, the odd collection of items [chopsticks, beer, a phone and a spitoon] or the fact that I have no idea where I took this in Japan. In an ideal juxtaposition I would have rather kept this square and put it with a store shot taken in Havana…that only gave me two complimentary shots, though, and nothing else would match. Why did it make the cut? It is like the ugly kid at a beauty pageant: the ugly become quirky and meaningful.

Hakone Sulphur, Butterfly Wings

The first image I chose was the sulphur mine photograph I took from a cable car. For me, this is my most intriguing landscape shot. Industrial and abstract, it is unlike anything else I have shot, but it does remind me of Burtynsky’s China landscapes. I had no idea who Burtynsky was when I captured the mines two years ago, but the combination of height and detail make it an image that holds the viewer beyond a casual glance. The yellow of the sulphur reminds me of the dust from a butterfly’s wings. I also recall smiling at the negative reaction of people on my GAP tour to me trying to take a photo of the mines – why bother with that when Mount Fuji is to the right?

In the end the exercise of looking at my work is far more important than the actual submission. While it would be exciting to be recognized by professionals, I am still just trying to find patterns in my own work. Like a game of Go Fish!, I now realize the missing pieces needed to complete various series.

Speaking of series…V.’s Ghost Car, Havana series is simply spectacular. I will be frank and admit that I am jealous of her work there; of the mood and tone of these images which is better than anything I have done thus far.

As for me, I will be focusing on editing my work with the intention of getting a portfolio review from a gallery. At this stage I would undoubtedly benefit from having a professional buyer sift through my best work to see what has commercial value and what might best remain in the dark void of my digital archive for now. My art and the public’s art might be near or far from each other; I know my art and much of the contemporary scene are distant, and that is a good thing ’cause I am not them…now I just wait to see if any word comes back from the other side.

Note: All photographs contained within this blog collection retain their full copyright, and cannot be used without express, written permission from Anthony N. Chandler Photography. 2010.

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