4.14.2011

A quick rat-atat-tat. Some clarifications for the previous screed.



 I think my writing style must have become defective somehow.  Many people are interpreting my posts to reflect a frustration or anger or bitterness on my part at the changes taking place in photography and in art endeavors in general.  It's just not so.  My year to date has been rewarding, both financially and artistically.  I am ever curious and spend so much time reading, researching and trying new things.  While I love the work we collectively did in the past there's more and more good stuff out there.  It's just a matter of finding your voice and overlaying it to the changes.

I love what the image above represents.  It means to me a level of craft and control that made printing beautiful and enduring.  And it still goes on today.  When I was covering the Formula One event here in Austin on Tues. I got a bag with swag and in it was a printed brochure done by a company called Exopolis.  It was beautifully designed and very well printed.  And though there were flash drives with fast paced videos (well done)  on them the collateral I remember is the brochure.

But while I have nostalgia for four and five and six color ink printing I'm also enjoying immensely the whole field of video.  There's so much to master and so much to re-learn.  This week was an exploration in microphones and sound recording.  I'm in love with wireless lav mics.  I'm mildly infatuated with stereo microphones on a camera or on a pole and I'm ambivalent for now about shotgun mics on poles.  I just read a book called "Naked Filmmaking"  which was self-indulgent but at the same time interesting.  And I once again learned the two most important lessons of production which seem to be:  Don't cross the "180" and, cut on actions.  I'm putting together a piece that is mostly interviews intercut with stills and I'm having fun pacing it.  I'm in no way angry or frustrated at this stuff.  I think it's pretty amazing what you can do with a good camera, some good mics and an i7 laptop.  Couldn't do this stuff solo ten years ago or even five years ago.  At least not with the promise of any quality.....

Someone asked about my sleep habits and I have to confess that I'm one of those people who get by nicely on 8 full hours of sleep.  I tend to write faster than most people and that makes a huge difference in apparent productivity.  I also have mastered some aspects of time management, the most important of which is not to let people steal your time.  That, and a mania to never procrastinate.

When I write a post like the one I did earlier today it's not my intention to make a statement that one approach or another is definitive.  I do write in a declarative voice but my intention is to provoke thought, just as the subjects of that post are unsettled and thought provoking for me.  But if you are a photographer and you are certain of the future and comfortable in your position in that future you probably wouldn't be wasting your time reading my blog.  But then again, maybe you would.....

Offline a doctor commented that I tend to be, "Painfully Introspective"   and for many people in America and Texas that could be construed to be an insult.  But I would query back:  Why write a blog if you aren't presenting new or different ideas?  Why not question your position or opposition to the mainstream?  What do you have to lose?  What do you know better than yourself?

I find the process of writing out my thoughts to be mildly therapeutic but my intention is to push people to confront their own relationships with the topical subject matter and better understand how the shifts in culture and society affect everyone.  And I don't think that's too much to ask.  Every generation has the choice of putting their heads in the sand and hoping against hope that nothing goes horribly wrong or embracing change and surfing on it's ridge.  But to do that you have to go out every day and read the waves and practice getting up on the board. Right?

So I'll keep writing these kinds of posts for the fellow professional photographers who seem to need them.  If you've convinced yourself that your business or profession will never change and that you'll be forever insulated from the robust and sudden shifts in culture and commerce then I can only say, "Wow!  You're a real dumbass."

What I'm really stubbornly railing against is a lack of "point of view," a lack of "personal vision," and a lack of visual curiosity.  The last being the most important.  To slavishly follow the prevailing imagery down to technique and subject matter isn't a learning mechanism it's just mental laziness.  Visual curiosity is about making your own journey instead of gang banging your way thru art.......

Yes.  We did have beauty dishes in the 1990's.  I swear.

What makes me happy?  Swimming fast.  Eating well.  Drinking well. Belinda and Ben.  Fun conversations with smart people. Good books.  Well made things.  Automatic watches.  Nicely done coffee.  Interesting art.

What makes me unhappy?  People who talk way too loud in restaurants.  Bad traffic.  Bad art passed off as a stylish new trend.

My suggestion for people who lack an art historical education (not taking a cheap shot)  and who want to understand modern art:  The Painted Word, by Tom Wolfe.  And for the people who want to understand the last 20 centuries of western art, Jansen's History of Art.   If we all read these we can disagree but at least we'll all be talking the same language......

15 comments:

Neal Thorley said...

"What makes me happy? Swimming fast. Eating well. Drinking well. Belinda and Ben. Fun conversations with smart people. Good books. Well made things. Automatic watches. Nicely done coffee. Interesting art."

This statement is perfect and oscillates with me. We have to keep on track of our happiness as without it we'd be burnt out husks of humans. (I've seen these aforementioned husks walking around the streets too and it's not pretty.)

Anonymous said...

Tuck is not a negative person but a prophet in a desert reminding us to pay attention and still have fun.

Back off, uber critics!

Frank Grygier said...

The previous screed and this response paint very different pictures for me. The screed seemed to be a frantic search for the artist lost in the day to day production of images to fill the order. The rat-atat..frames another side of you that speaks of the wonder of discovery of new ways to express yourself. I learned more about myself in this blog. The screed just tired me out. Can't wait to see and hear one of your motion pictures.

Anonymous said...

"Gang banging your way thru art" An instant classic quote. Amazing how prolific you are with pithy observations. You shoulda been a writer. :-)

Andrew said...

What watches do you like? Been on the search for one, also like automatics.

diforbes said...

Let's see some F1 shots from your event coverage.

Larry Wyatt said...

"Automatic watches," you say? See, you are simply another slave to modern technology!

What happened to the days when one could wind a watch slowly, methodically, feeling each and every click of the internal unseen mastery of engineering. Like sands through the hourglass, if you will. Oh, how I long for the return of the artistry of manual watches. ;-)

Keep up the great work, Kirk. If you're ever in Houston, let me know. I'd love to buy you and adult beverage and visit.

Larry

Anonymous said...

"If you've convinced yourself that your business or profession will never change and that you'll be forever insulated from the robust and sudden shifts in culture and commerce then I can only say, "Wow! You're a real dumbass."

I enjoy reading your blogs, they make me think, and while I disagree with some of your points every now and then this comment above really strikes home. My company is shutting our office in California and moving the jobs here to Austin. Young people at that office(who I tend to think are more flexible to change) are freaking out and in denial/shocked/dumbfounded that this could happening to them. Having been laid off or to the point of being laid off at various times in my career, I've learned to roll with it and adapt.

kirk tuck said...

Andrew, Eterna and Fortis.

Mel said...

Lack of visual curiosity - you hit it right on the head. I'm becoming numb to the number of photographers who aren't exploring their craft, one that is changing at warp speed in someways and honoring traditions in others. Your lack of a "lack of visual curiosity" is exactly what I look for from your blogs. It's your space - if anyone wants to criticize they need to start their own blog and backlink to yours. Let the dialogues begin!

JohnL said...

That is a cracking image of the printing press Kirk or is it that after a lifetime of living in the world of printing presses that this resonates with me! Oh, and being a pro photographer for all that time. It's cracking no matter which way you look at it!. Keep them coming.

GWC said...

your writing is just perfect...a daily read for me, a smile or something to think about always!

the people who don't "get" the tone...well they probably are not the ones you want reading your thoughts anyway!

Dan Berry said...

Keep going, I get it.

Anonymous said...

Slap me in the face and then tell me the secrets of the universe....

Jim Allen said...

I found your blog from another site about a year ago, and I have become quite enamored of your writing style. I enjoy your review style and your take on things photographic. Keep up the good work, there are many of us who just read and enjoy your output. Not to mention admire your shooting style. I try to use the links you provide when something you've tried and recommended seems to meet my needs. That small contribution is the least I can do. I have never taken your style as negative, just direct and factual, and related to your vision. Don't let the naysayers turn your output into pablum, your opinion resonates loudly. :)