Thoughts on an Exhibition

Added on by John DuBois.

I've been working on a project the past few years based on some visits to a closed silk throwing mill in western Maryland.  A few select images from this work have appeared in several galleries over the last year.  For this I'm very grateful for the privilege of sharing the work in the company of many other talented photographers.

The recent selection of three of my images from this series for the Annual Exhibition at The Houston Center for Photography is a high point in the development of this work.  I've worked through the sequencing of the images many times and revisited the images that I wanted to highlight several times as well.  Over time developing the project the images follow I see now as an evolving understanding of the meaning of the photographs in the body of work.  Today it has come to be a study of the people who worked at this mill and those who followed later as observers and interpreters.  The mill is not an "abandoned" place, it has an owner and caretaker working to preserve the place and its story.  I hope this work can become part of that effort.

I also had an artist's statement for this project and included it with the submission for the exhibition.  One thing the Center requested of the exhibiting artists was to record brief audio files that could be listened to while viewing the images at the Center.  It was a profound learning experience for me to do three 1-to-2 minute recordings for each photograph.  I thought it would be a straight-forward task - it was, after four hours invested in making the audio files.  Turns out talking about a work in real time is very different from experiencing an image visually and different still from writing about it.  The entire experience taught me to do more of this while working on images - it helped me to develop my ideas around the work more clearly.

It was also a pleasure to go to the opening, meet lots of new people and also to see all of the images selected as prints and not just pixels on a screen.

One other lesson: get out and look at real work whenever you can.

Thanks for stopping by.