I've just returned from the Jerry Uelsmann Confluence exhibit at the UF University Gallery, and to say I found him and his work inspiring would be an understatement. Each image is an ethereal dreamscape straight from the mind's eye. He is a master of the darkroom, the king of Photoshop before there was Photoshop. I had the opportunity to chat with him briefly, and felt like a nervous school girl talking to her crush. You know those moments where your mind goes blank and you come across as an empty-headed fool... There were two things he said in particular that struck me: 1) he practices his craft every single day; and 2) self-doubt is part of the artistic process. I found the second statement to be incredibly comforting. The timing of this exhibit could not have been better, and given this project I had to make mention of my experience. It's all interconnected, and I felt as though I came to a confluence of my own as I move into week 10 of editing.
A lot has happened over the past four weeks resulting in setbacks, from offhand comments to Hurricane Irma plowing through the state. Yet the project continues! Admittedly there are some days when I sit down to do edits and wonder if I've run out of ideas. It's as though I lose sight of what an edit should entail. Is this different enough? There's that self-doubt... That's when I have to sit with the raw image for a while.
One of the main reasons behind this project was to stretch my photography skills. There was a time when I would take a shot and, if it resonated strongly enough that would be the final image. No edits, no cropping. Done. The editing options seemed overwhelmingly limitless that I was frozen with possibilities. This feeling was the impetus for this project. Cropping in particular has been a big issue with me. When I'm out shooting I can't help but compose my final image in camera. As I look through the camera I seek out the right balance and take the shot. To crop seemed sacrilege. All that compositional effort seemed a waste.
Taking on this project has allowed me to experiment with a whole host of editing techniques. I've rotated, cropped, and transformed to my heart's content. I've taken the image to unrecognizable levels. I've also started experimenting with texture overlays. Luminar has a filter that allows one to easily achieve this effect, but I've experimented in Photoshop and found they are similar in ease of use. I've used a shopping cart, shadows on a marble slab, bricks, and undulating waves to add layers to the raw image. Blend modes can take the overlay a step further, creating something more than just an image stacked on top of another.
As with any artistic undertaking that is shared with the world, one has to expect unwanted commentary. The opening reception for the GFAA Member's Showcase was no different. The overall feedback on my project was positive and well-received, but there's always that one little comment that sticks with you. It made me take pause long enough to let doubt creep its way in. I felt misunderstood and demoralized. I felt like a deflated balloon. After processing my feelings I realized it was time to move forward. This is one of the uncomfortable aspects of sharing part of yourself with others. I'm grateful for the reminder on learning to handle these moments with grace and self-assurance. This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt sums it up nicely.
And let's not forget about the always present tech challenges. As I move forward I've had to address issues I failed to consider when I took on the project. It wasn't until this week that I finally figured out how I want to organize my images on the website for more user-friendly viewing. Images are now broken into galleries by week, with the raw image at the start for a reference point. It's easy to navigate between weeks so you can revisit prior weeks. Below are links to week 6-9. Enjoy!