Not for lack of wanting, but I just realized I haven't posted a blog since February. Every time I felt the desire, though, I found that I really had nothing to report on that would matter when it came to my work or the website. I don't know how many people read the blog, but if there are those who check on a regular basis, my apologies.
That being said, I can't say there was absolutely nothing to tell last month, but there was not enough context to fill more than maybe a paragraph. What did happen was that I got into a show in Portland, Oregon, at Black Box Gallery (there's a link in my exhibition record). Not being the drinker I used to be, this was by far the highlight of my St. Patrick's Day this year. Upon finding out, I figured this was a great excuse to get myself out there, among the obvious point that having work outside of my region was pretty nice too. Unfortunately, though, it looked futile as it was short notice and it looked like I wasn't going to be able to afford the flight out. Luckily, I remembered a few days later that I had some money stashed away, literally, and was able to make the trip a reality.
Fast forward to the first full week of April and I was on my way to Oregon. This was not the first time out there, but it definitely was as rewarding as I was hoping, but not even remotely in the ways I expected.
My goal on the trip was of course to attend the opening reception of the show, but also to see how many brains I could pick while in a market vastly different from the one I was coming from. In ways I got what I was looking for. I spent most of my time at the gallery in conversation with Todd Johnson, the owner and director of Black Box. Although our conversation ran the gamut of photography, process-to-printing-to-digital and analog, we really just had a free-form discussion of what it's like running galleries, anecdotes, and experience good and bad. All-in-all, my time at the gallery I definitely count as a success.
Another goal while in the area was to, of course, shoot as much as I could. I have to admit that it was difficult working with the weather in Portland, they have had more rain this year than they normally have. If you think of the stereotypical Portland weather, multiply it by four or five and that is what they've had this year. I expected to have a good deal of wet and gray, but not as much true-to-form rain as there was. All that aside, though, it ended up paying off in a way I really didn't expect.
After posting an image on Instagram one day, I got a message from a guy that follows me, and I him. He asked if I was in town, and if so, would I like to go shoot with he and a few other people the next morning. Normally I probably would have declined, not out of lack of trust or any fear, but because I knew to make it I'd have to be up at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. However, I agree to meet up and am so glad that I did. It was extremely fun to get out with some other people interested in the same things, and especially in a place that is relatively new to me. I don't think I've gone out shooting with more than one other person since I was in college, so it was definitely refreshing and one of the best things I did while out there.
In the end, though, what this trip really gave me was a new found appreciation for the work I've been doing over the past few months. As I have really started to hone in on the direction my work has been taking me, and I it, I have had doubts that are not uncommon, but definitely there. What I got while away was a good opportunity to reflect through plucking myself out of my own environment. Normally I would get the bug to uproot myself and move to wherever I was visiting, but this feeling was very different. Being away from what has been driving me, consciously or unconsciously, really forced me to think about things and figure out, visually, what has been truly driving me, why, and where and how to take it from here. I won't get into the nitty-gritty of it right now, but if nothing else, it fueled my fire to get back and throw myself full force into what I have started. As I told Todd at the gallery, "I'll know when I'm done."
I don't know if any of them will see this or not, but thanks to the people I met while out there. I'm sure there are others I'm not remembering, but big thanks to Todd Johnson, Justin Renault, an Nate Tabor for their hospitality and welcoming personalities. It's nice to feel like I've got friends for the next time I may get out that way.