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An Impractical Necessity

Once again I have reached an impasse in my practice of photography. That is not to say there are no projects in the works, nor that they shall be left uncompleted. Rather the issue at hand is how to move to the next level, the next phase as yet undiscovered.

I am tired of collecting. I no longer wish to do photography in the service of attraction or aversion; of praise and blame. What I mean is that I do not want to use photography as a way of ersatz possession of people and things. I have also grown weary of exposing the earth's ugly corners. Perhaps it is even more important to find beauty within that wasteland, and ephemerality within the mechanized order of civilization.

I feel like I am passing through this place, my roots nowhere and everywhere. The lucky ones are tied to a place by choice, but I am like most people, rootless, not satisfied with my place. I dream, often in reverie of the green elsewhere, awakening again, quite fine in the here and now. Dharma, tea, flute, and family are my companions. The job is usually thankless, but not always. Every so often a student breaks through with good work and gratitude, setting the balance straight. And so, out of necessity, I continue to clumsily dance with the academy, raise my awkward voice within the din, weaving strange lectures out of books and films, and endure the woeful commute.

Today I am thinking of black and white, pictures of the ordinary and unnoticed, a road I have traveled before. I imagine them square and silver, crafted out of love and emptiness. I wonder how to rise to the next plateau, how to find the energy. It's all so hermetic, this art business. I wish neither to impress nor offend, but I live in a world full of competitiveness and condemnation. And so I spend my time and resources, this precious human life, and wonder where it will all lead. I care, so I know others must care. They populate the cracks, patterning a new language of wholeness out the impractical necessity of art. A word that has lost enough meaning to merit the status of zero, and hence a clean start, as yet undiscovered within this transient impasse.

Santa Monica

An Impractical Necessity, 2003