Safety Dance

by Ellen in , , ,


Today, I got my mind blown. Not that this doesn't happen everyday, but for some reason, today was a big thing. Welllll, nothing really big happened, it was just the honesty of a new art school friend that may have helped jump a giant hurdle.

First, lemme say that I have made a handful of really sweet friends here. Friends that I have come to be able to ask what sucks and what is good and they'll tell me. My teachers are supposed to do this, but somehow, it ends up being my peers that are the best instructors. I learn a lot from them, and I'm so grateful they exist. Anyway, I have two classes with Evan, who sometimes I call Jesus because he looks like what I think Jesus might look like. He's an amaaaazing photographer. I mean, some of the most beautiful things you've ever seen. He's 27, so he's been doing this a lot longer than me, and he's used every process imaginable to make a photograph. The dude knows what he's talking about, and is always very helpful. I don't mind saying that I had a tinycrush on him at first, because his talent is so great and he is kindof a precious human. And he's the only person in any of my classes that doesn't wear skinny jeans and bathes on a regular basis (everyday). Besides being really smart, he and Andrea and I are silly together all the time and Jack gets mad at us. He also calls me Eeellen, and I have no idea why, but I love new nicknames.

Don't get me wrong, I love my teachers, but my friend can say things and I hear him. It might help that I've seen a lot of his work that I can actually see that he knows what he's talking about, and so now I've gotten in the habit of asking him what I can do better. He helps me edit and crop things, and soon I'ma sit with him in the darkroom so he can show me how to do other things better. Sounds sketchy, but it's not. We just spend a lot of time in the dark.

ANYWAY, to make it sound like I'm not obsessed with him, I'll move on. Today, we had our "Time" critique, and it went fine. I will say that there is this one kid in my class who always is on drugs (literally) and is the biggest jerk EVER to everyone. Ugh. I don't say this often, but I can't STAND this kid. He's just mean.

I showed everyone my pretty lights, and yada yada yada, and we took a break and I told Evan that I actually did another project for this and so of course he wanted to see it. So I showed it to him:

I have been struggling because I feel like I'm not getting any better at anything technical, and he has been struggling because Linda Connor has been telling him to stop being so good at everything and make his photos mean something. Obviously, we have opposite problems and we've been talking about it. So, today he told me that while these photos were lovely and who doesn't love ginkgo trees, they're totally safe. Everything I make is safe. Not necessarily boring, just within my zone. And then he said that in order to not be safe anymore, these safe photos have to be made. They are a step to getting beyond, and they are important so that I can get to the point where I say (his words, not mine) F*** YES! to every photo I take.

While I'm totally ready to be at that point now, I know it'll take lots of time and even more experimenting. I'm fine with that, and I'm glad I have school friends to help me. It'll be weird to look back on all of this in...5 years. I wonder what I'll be doing then? Hopefully making really great photographs that I say F*** YES to in my own way.

PS. Kitty, Merry Early Crimmas. I'ma bring these home for you. (Doesn't matter how safe they are, I still like them)