The practical aspects of making the sandcastles and taking the photos are discussed here. This post is about the time it takes to understand the images.
It should be obvious by now that the whole point of this effort is Letting Go. At the end of any days work there’s no control over what the tide, weather or my fellow humans will do with the sandcastle. So you take some photos and a video or two and move on.
The same holds true with the photos. You have to let go of the sandcastle, the ideas and experience of building, to see the images on their own. Sometimes this takes months. For instance I’m just now beginning to see last summers photos for what they are.
There were many hurdles last summer. The sand at the tide line was too coarse so sand from the dunes, fifty feet away, was imported. That means moving about 500 lbs of sand a day in addition to the several hundred gallons of water from the ocean.
The beach was more populated which means more conversations while building and photographing. It also means more people, umbrellas and buildings in the background.
Then there are all the memories from spending the week with family. Who was there, how was the weather, what did we eat and so on.
You see, there’s a funny thing about photography. For most of us photographs are documents of memories. Their primary purpose is to remind us of where we’ve been, who we were with and how much fun we had. If we hang a photo on the wall it’s to share our own story with others. The actual image is often secondary if it’s considered at all. This relates back to the Where Is This? post.
This all competes with the act of making art. In other words- What is the subject? Is it a place, a person or some fruit? Or is it how it makes you feel? It’s the second affect that many of us pursue. Why do we love the beach? What do we dream about? Have we overcome challenges? What is the nature of surprise? To get to the spirit of the image you have to let go of everything else.
The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea. – Agnes Martin