Lots of good stuff, there and in comments.
Artists’ statements must be frustrating and limiting to have to write; you write anyway and have a way with big ideas as well as small ones, but it must always feel like you haven’t said enough, or that the words are often treacherous, shifting, not quite right. Wasn’t there that story about Eliot being asked, at a social event perhaps, what a particular poem meant, and he recited it in its entirety and said: ‘ That’s what it meant.’ A small part of me would have wanted to slap him for that, but of course it’s obvious. And as Pete pointed out, artists often entertain angels unawares, can create things they aren’t necessarily fully aware of but others can find, can sometimes seem to be remarkably obtuse, not very clever, even unpleasant people, but inspiration and gift isn’t fussy like that.
I think I do still have a weakness for what you call the nature porn, though I find I look at it much more critically now. I’ve been looking at and reading about Charlie Waite’s landscapes, I do admire the light chasing perfectionism it takes to make them, especially as he only uses film, not digital, and he doesn’t entirely rely on the beauty of his subject matter – that seems rather like using only beautiful people as models. Yet somehow they make me feel a bit depressed, shake my faith in the beauty of the ordinary and commonplace I was finding.
I often wish for a closer urban environment for variety, but, as with wishing for more dramatic and beautiful landscape around me, I have to see this boredom as a challenge to break through it and see something else I hadn’t seen before. We’ve a very pretty small town nearby, which I love to look at, but every good shot just looks like a postcard, and people are always wandering round photographing it. I don’t find it very inspiring.
Your idea of making ‘ the roles of figure and ground … reversible, or even nonexistent’, is an interesting one, and gives me something to think about.
I know what Bill says is true, and it’s a despair at the core of my being, so largely I prefer to ignore it, which is self-evident, as not to do so is to make myself uncomfortable.
I use the viewfinder.