My lady has always worried that I shouldn't "show my whole hand" and that I should hold back some of my work, and some of myself. And I do, because I have to sit with some things before they go out. But not that much. My drive to not rest on my laurels is intense, compulsive even, and to put so much out there for anyone to see means that I have to move forward and produce new work. For me there's a constant need to produce the strongest work I can... I'm not looking for just OK, I'm looking to knock the ball out of the fucking park and break a car window in the parking lot with the hit. I have committed myself to the I-95 project and in some ways I've moved through the last 8 years with a framework that hasn't really allowed a lot of introspection due to my commitment to allow folks to see the whole thing as I move toward 2010, all the workings of this 10 year project including the missteps... trying to live my life and balancing what should and shouldn't be shown, and told. Later I'll have time for introspection, right now I think my best move is to go, dog, go.
I live with very, very few regrets and I know I will have no regrets when 95 is done, but I can't help but wonder if some of my priorities now are ones that I'll think were misplaced. The biggest issue is not having a child, not that it's out of the question, but I think I'm too old to start the process to become pregnant at this point. And not carrying a baby, man, that's going to be one of those few regrets even though I'm certain that I've made best decisions for myself all through my 30s.
I am working on the printing of We Love Having You Here and having some difficulty, primarily because I have to decide on the images prior to the show and lock them down. I almost always make the images and then arrange them at the site, with the exception of I-95 where I move images around in my studio all year to make certain of the order. I have to see the images next to each other to be certain of their connection... even the best laid plans, as they say.
Working on this show has been difficult for a few reasons... working on a show is always hard, but I've struggled with presentation issues. Silicon, my most awesome printer, oh my god I love those guys best printers ever, made a BEAUTIFUL print of "Stay Alive" face-mounted on Plexiglas. Holy fuck, it's spectacular. But I'm not 100% about it. Although it's so beautiful and adds a sculptural quality to the print (which I love and is akin to the way I sometimes mount onto wood to nail into telephone poles), it has a sort of fetishistic quality to the print, which is something I look to avoid at all costs. I wish I had more time to sit with all the implications of this shift in presentation, but I've got to get right the hell on it. There's a lot to consider in presentation, especially with portraits, and I am hyper-conscious of the importance of presenting photos of strangers and the way they can be read in different venues. Slick is very seductive for me, particularly because I love for the portraits to be presented with great dignity. Photography is voyeurism, someone is looking at a static image, but I will be damned if I don't work my ass off in hopes to make some one looking at the photo feel connected to the image, not just "looking at" the image. That's perhaps my most ambitious reach and one that I can't control by any stretch.
For America I included brief captions and the place where the photo was made under the photo. This meant that I had to change the name of some of photos from my original description. For example, I changed the name of this image from "Mummer in Blackface" to "Mummer in Black Facepaint." This kid clearly had no idea about the implications and history of black face and not only was it unfair to categorize him as a racist, but I wanted viewers to make their own connection to black face in this image, and the underlying absence of historical context in this guy's beautiful smiling face. I think there's an air of menace in this photo, but I hope to leave it up to the viewer to feel and see what they want.