I AM STILL ALIVE 12.5.2020
ONE SELF PORTRAIT EVERY DAY in 2020 : 133
I’m loving all the kind words and compliments I am receiving about my short bits of writing that go with my photos of the day but I feel uncomfortable at the same time.
I don’t know how I should react: should I say “thanks, I know!”? or have a bit of false modesty and say “this is not good writing but I’m glad you like it”? Fortunately Facebook lets me get away with a thumbs up “LIKE” and Instagram with a heart.
The truth is that I know that I’m not a “good” writer although my grandmother used to say that I wrote great letters. I have no patience and write as the words come to my mind, and even if I notice that I started a sentence in one tense but am ending it in another, it will not matter; also I like adding semi-colons or colons even if they are in the wrong place to add them and I enjoy writing long rambling sentences with crazy unhelpful punctuation. And follow with a short one. But I do correct a misspelt word if the spellcheck flags it up. And I make sure that I start sentences with “But” or “And” as often as possible.
One of my favourite John Baldessari works is a photo of him standing not quite in the centre of the frame, with a palm tree just behind his head and underneath it, in capital letters, the word “WRONG”.
I have just deleted a whole paragraph where I try to explain this work: about why should we conform to the rules of photography (and art), that an idea can’t be right or wrong, that it should be a personal response … when being creative you must not conform …
I suppose that I have always had a fear of conforming and that’s probably one of the reasons why I have had so many wonderful experiences and many stories to tell.
I am sure I am an artist even if what that means is not clear to me, but until relatively recently if someone asked me what I did / who I am, I would answer something like this: “I am a graphic designer to pay the bills but sometimes have an art project on the go to feed my soul”.
I was in front of my work (a Perét text piece) at an opening in a gallery in Bushwick (ArtHelix) and someone comes up to me:
“ Are you the artist?”
“Well, I’m not really an artist but, I do sometimes make works …”
“Sorry, I thought you were the artist” and walks off.
I have had a passion for photography since I was a kid but if someone asks me if I’m a photographer my answer would be “I like taking photos”.
I am envious of people who, can just pick up a camera, take a couple of good shots and declare: “I am a photographer! … and an Artist!”
My I AM STILL ALIVE PROJECT has gone from a photo with a caption to a photo with a bit of text to a piece of writing with a photo ,maybe it will eventually become a text without a photo.
Maybe soon I will be able to say “I am not a writer but I do sometimes write things that people enjoy reading”
There you go, a bit of honesty disguised as false modesty. Or is it the other way round?
I AM STILL ALIVE 121.5.2020