yet again, i see something in you that inspires. as a kid, i wanted to go to art school, i wanted to create. i had a good eye for color, and i enjoyed putting visual elements together. it calmed me. my mother did not nourish this creativity, and absolutely shunned the idea of me ever going to art school with the intention of making things. to my mother, and to many people in general, art was a hobby. art was not something people did to make a living, and she was poor enough as it was. she worked hard, lived with a man who i did see make much effort to help, and seemed unhappy. i thought about escaping a lot. but the belief was ingrained in my head, that i would never be able to make art, go to art school, etc.
the fact that you went so far as to have the motivation, the encouragement, to enter an art competition [and win!] as a kid is really cool. and having the determination to still create beautiful things, despite not having money to go to art school, is inspiring. i wish i’d had the strength and foresight to do likewise.
i’m making small steps. thank you for inspiring.
This is for the poor kids. The misfits. The neglected dreamers.
Q: I am a fellow New Orleanian and have been following you on Instagram for some time now. I have to say that you are the only reason I check Instagram anymore. In fact, now that I check your Tumblr site I really don’t log on to Instagram very often anymore! My wife and I are not wealthy but we have a passion for art and try to collect pieces that move us. Much of your work really challenges and engages us in a manner different from other artists. Do you by chance ever sell any of your pieces? Thank you for your time and please keep creating and posting. It brightens my day when I see one of your new pieces that surprises and shocks me!
I’m an intimate, relational artist. My personal work takes “personal” to new levels, and I have some form of a relationship with each of my subjects. In fact, I can’t really do what I do without one. All of my photographs are collaborations in intimacy with my subjects, and I care deeply not just about what the work means to me, but what it means to them. This is why I’ve linked to the personal accounts of Hysterical Literature sessionists Stoya, Danielle, and Solé, I think seeing their perspective makes the art richer.
So as a follow-up on my “Thoughts on Neogender” (link warning: graphic, NSFW) piece, here’s the email I received from the subject after she saw it in 2007. I’m still friends with her, and she consented to its publication now:
There is transgender. Is there transracial?
Q: “I hate to ask you to do this because it feels in some small way like it could be considered asking you to censor your work which I would hate to do and would never suggest. But would you please consider adding some sort of NSFW tag to your posts where appropriate? I subscribe to your blog via RSS and love looking at your photos or inspirational quotes during my lunch break, but occasionally I’ll see a photo that might get me in a little bit of trouble at work. If you would rather not do this you will not be losing a follower by any means, but I would very much appreciate it if you could make things a little bit simpler for me.
Regardless of your answer, I would love to take this opportunity to express to you how in awe I am of the things you create. Your work is an incredible combination of challenging and accessible that I’ve found far too rare in the art world. Thank you for making so much of it available on this site.”
The more of your life’s snapshots that require pixelating, the better you are living it.
Hey art school students, when you’re not around your teachers ask me for advice. I’m a high school dropout. Save your cash.
Generational poverty and poor rural infrastructure leaves single mom walking miles to work at McDonald’s. #WhitePeopleProblems
Imagine an always-on 360 degree HD wearable video camera. With a constant feed of all that she might see, the photographer is freed from instant reaction to the Decisive Moment, and then only faced with the Decisive Area to be in, and perhaps the Decisive Angle. Evolve this further into a networked grid of such cameras, and the photographer is freed from those decisions as well, and is then merely a curator of reality after the fact. Any ”live” input would consist of a “flag” button the photographer presses when she thinks a moment stands out, much like is already used in recording high-speed footage. The grid might not even be traditionally photographic, rather more like a 3D LIDAR array. A primitive test of this has already been used artistically in Radiohead’s 2008 video for “House of Cards.”
None of this is science fiction. Artists are already commandeering Google Street View to hijack omniscient eyes for their own expression. Nick Knight has been using 3D scanners for fashion work for over a decade. In less time than it took me to originally learn and master film and darkroom technique at the beginning of my career I’ve seen digital tools transition from massively expensive and low-resolution to ubiquitously cheap and high-resolution.
It’s taken over 165 years for photography to truly fulfill its promise to be the ultimate democratic art. I’m thrilled to be alive to see it.