11/23/09

Walker Evans quote

this morning on jeanamaries blog she linked to a quote and works by Walker Evans. I LOVE what he says and feel strongly the same about feeling, working blindly and not getting overly intellectual:

"I am self taught, and I still think that is a good way to be. You learn as you go and do. It is a little slow, but I think that's the way to work...

I have had a good number of years of more or less compulsive photography; I am devoted to it, and still get a great deal of excitement out of looking at things and getting them the way I want. However, you won't find me overly intellectual about what we are all interested in doing.

I work rather blindly, and I don't think an awful lot about what I am doing. I have a theory that seems to work with me that some of the best things you ever do sort of come through you. You don't know where you get the impetus and the response to what is before your eyes, but you are using your eyes all the time and teaching yourself unconsciously really from morning to night.

There are several tenets that go with this craft of ours. One of them is that the real gift and value in a picture is really not a thought; it is a sensation that is based on a feeling. Most people in our tradition are basically rather scared of feeling. You have to unpeel that before you can really get going and not be afraid of feeling".

from Inside the Photograph by Peter C Bunnell

8 comments:

Kim Hambric said...

Thanks for sharing that Paula. Makes me feel better. No matter how hard I try for organization and preciseness, I end up working "rather blindly."

Nellie's Needles said...

I'll second that!

Karen said...

I call it working intuitivly...

paula said...

i like that karen

jeanamarie said...

i could read it again and again! glad that you found the link insightful too, I'm really enjoying the photo /arts site.

Ellen said...

I'll be the poop and disagree that 'most people in our tradition are basically rather scared of feeling' Artists??? No way.

I'm not sure why there has to be this separation from feeling and intellect. Every creative act starts with inspiration and feeling and there's always a push/pull between the unconscious sensory stuff and formal concerns. Why do we have to try to defend one or the other? I really haven't met a single artist that intellectualizes their art while they're in the process of making it, that always comes after. Only people making formula art work with that kind of detatchment.

paula said...

i dont think you are being a poop. i appreciate your thoughts ellen, as you always wake me up and god knows you are much more learned about this stuff than me.

i read less into it i guess ~ maybe he was looking at the many artists in his lifetime who needed drugs/alcohol/sex/copious amount of caffeine and whatever else to escape from their reality. from feeling what is really there. thats how i would interpreted the diddy about feelings.
i'm also not so sure every creative act starts with inspiration. there is addiction, mental illness, boredom and frustration...all of that could get thrown into a ball called (from the outside looking in) inspiration but ultimately inspiration in my book comes from a much healthier place that has less angst/pain and frustration.
and the intellectualizing part i glazed over honestly. i know plenty of artists who intellectualize.

many of us do look AFTER the fact and intellectualize and i can't know who or how many do that during, but i'll bet plenty do and honestly it doesn't matter either way. i think by dint of sitting down and writing about it walter intellectualized and perhaps therein lies the problem if it really is one?

ArtPropelled said...

Great post and comments, Paula. Food for thought.