Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why It take Photographs

I wrote this as part of an application I made for a grant. It was supposed to be a one page "artist" statement. Anyway I guess I should inflict my assignment on myself! Somebody else will have to give me points!

I am an amateur; I create photographs because I enjoy it. I attach myself to the world through photographs. I started taking photographs when I was a VISTA volunteer in Shaktoolik in 1967. I have continued to take photographs, with a few gaps because of family and career, since then.
The idea of Wandering in not an affectation, I love to immerse myself in situations that I respond to, I take photographs of what I respond to. My purpose is to show things the way they are, or really to show things the way that I see them. I want to share the diversity of my responses, humor, awe, beauty, disgust, irony, joy, and even boredom. I want to respond to a situation and not impose myself into it. I am interested in the ordinary and the every day, the mundane. When we look at old photographs it is not the scenic that we are moved by, it is the small ordinary details that resurrect memories.

I grow through the process of photography, the more I see the more I see! Photography is a cyclical process that leads to deeper insight and more appreciation of the world I experience.
Many of my photographs are inspired by the history of the “town photographer” Usually each community has a town photographer that defines a town at a specific period of time. Every Sunday, in the Fairbanks New Miner, they publish old photographs of Fairbanks. I want to provide the photographs that will document Fairbanks in its current time and place. A more pretentious influence would be Eugene Atget who documented Paris at the turn of the century.
Because of my job we visit a different Alaska town each semester. Usually I spend time during the meetings wandering around. An example of what I do would be the photographs of Nome at http://www.cysewski.com/photo/nome/index.html

Two years ago I was on sabbatical in Thailand. I was looking at how adults learn and apply computer skills. I also created a photographic web site that documented my experience. The photographs at www.wanderinginthailand.com are another aspect of my photography. I want to show how I experience my world and if I am true to that experience other people respond to it.

Last weekend I walked up auto row on South Cushman taking photographs after a rainstorm. I am preparing photographs for Wandering In Fairbanks 2007. I also have many photographs of Anchorage from the seventies and early eighties. When I find a situation that excites me I go back again and again to experience it from different perspectives. The process of photography feels good!

I even love nature! My Creamer’s Field photographs show some of my nature photography. http://www.cysewski.com/photo/creamers2006/index.html

My photography is personal and documentary. Taking photographs is a personal path and a personal exploration. As I retire I have the responsibility to organize and share my work. I also want to make my photographs available to the public.

My fear is that my photographs will just be dumped someplace and forgotten. That is why placing my photographs in a photo archive is important to me. I share my photographs with others and use the Creative Commons as a means of sharing. All I want is attribution if my photographs are used non-commercially.
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