In Love With Looking

As I’d mentioned in this post, I don’t have anything booked this week, both on purpose and by chance — so I am cleaning the office, writing, reading, and spending time with my dogs.  Now, I like to take work whenever it comes because as a freelancer, it is difficult to say no because there is always the fear if you turn someone away, your client will find a replacement and forget to call you next time. This made me rabidly accept work all the time until this week when I finally sat down after taking my partner Casey to his depart for his Olympics gig, I got a cold.

Now, I get little sniffles here and there but when I’m active, I’m surprisingly good at fighting off such bugs and usually one night of good sleep will heal me.  This time, it was as if my body knew I’d imposed this little vacation on myself and decided to shut down for a week.

My nose is bright red from all the tissues. My voice is hoarse.  I’m coughing up ugly things. So, yeah, I don’t want to go anywhere. I holed up in my steel and glass studio and watched the Winter Olympics.  When there was no sport of interest on, I picked up books in my “To Read” stack and well, I read them.  But mostly when I can’t face the world I look at images. Videos, gifs, photographs, daguerreotypes, historic archives, and flickr streams.

I have a long way to go as a photographer, as a person.  There is always room for improvement.  I’m in this weird stage, trying to catch up my technical prowess with my taste, something I gleaned from a video by Ira Glass on storytelling (part 1, part 2, part 3 -this one in particular is great to watch-, part 4).  Over a bowl of ramen the other day,  I mentioned to a friend who is studying photography, that I actually haven’t been a pro photographer for very long and only involved in MMA since 2007 (though loosely at the end of 2006, but that’s another story).  When growing up, given the choice of new years shows between K-1 Premium Dynamite!! and Red/White, our family chose Red/White.  He was surprised.  It’s true.

I mean, I shot. I grew up around art. I still have my first camera, a Canon EOS Elan, a result of a Minolta trade-in at a downtown LA camera shop in 1992.

What I am trying to get at with this sudden confessional? Oh, right.

On Casey’s twitter profile, he posted this quote:

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When I studied writing (I changed my mind a lot), I was always told to read read read.

I ventured into photography on my own but I know for myself in addition to actual practice, I look, watch, look. ingest.

This whole post was a long setup to list a few of the photographers and things that I like to scan through for inspiration, tricks, things to copy, things to just plain admire, and imagemaking to which I aspire. I hate pulling punches but for those of you at work, some of these links are NSFW. Blah blah blah, there. But do look at them all. They are beautiful.

James Pomerantz

Clayton Cubitt (also twitter and blog)

Waxin’ and Milkin’

Yimmys Yayo

Peter Yang

Jeff Wall — Really floored me the first time I saw his works in person at the Hammer Museum.

Julia Fullerton-Batten

Flak Photo

Philip Toledano (whose work Gamers was copied a lot, check out Days with my Father)

Ryan McGinley

and gosh, there are so many many more.

Christopher Doyle

Roger Deakins

Ozu Yasujiro

The Photography Post (by Rachel Hulin who writes so well on photography)

The list is endless. But it’s a start.

2010/02/18 | Filed under Art & Fashion, Random and tagged with .

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  • http://danielherbertson.com Daniel Herbertson

    Great post Esther, really gave a great feeling of what it is like to freelance in this game. I’ve been getting sick a lot lately too from working too much, you really describe the feeling well.

    If there is one (other) problem in my life right now, it would be that I don’t have enough input of beautiful work. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://jameslawphotography.com james law

    Thanks for the new material!

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