Yesterday morning, as I was drinking my second coffee and checking my email, all relaxed by the public holiday in the middle of the week, I noticed a new commenter. Hmm interesting, I thought. I opened the blog, because I like to read my comments in context, and there it was, the first deliberately unkind comment I've received here. At the end of the post I wrote about our friend Steve. So I shot off an email; Yomamma. I'm curious. Why would you go out of your way to comment that someone's photos are crap? Especially on a post where they're writing about a friend dying, and especially after you would have read that another friend just died. It seems like a cruel context in which to make such a comment. To be honest I don't care what you think of my photos. But really, I'm curious why you would write something like that. Please enlighten me. Of course I haven't had a reply (and I realise that there would be nothing to stop a troll using someone elses site name in the comments box) but nonetheless, I am curious.
As I scrolled though the last five posts, I realised that maybe these aren't the best lot of photos I've taken, but I'm more than OK with that. It's a blog, which being diary like in nature, repsonds to life and time and is therefore kind of fleeting and imperfect by it's very nature. Not a coffee table book where every word and image has been laboured over endlessly. Then I started to think about something I read recently about some photos being art and some being just pretty pictures and that if you're churning out the latter, you really shouldn't be representing yourself as an artist. That might be true I suppose, but where do we draw the line? And who gets to draw it? It's very easy when when faced with a great and recognised artwork to say, oh yes that's art. But what about the works the artist made on the way to the great artwork? What about art that is yet to be recognised as great? Is it art if the artist is prolific? And what about art that I don't like, is it art if it's the work of someone reconised as an artist but not if it's from someone unknown? Is blogging an art? Do I really care? I know on some level I do, but I'm a lot less hurt by the comment than I would have expected. It appears that the act of the blogging has made me reform the thick skin I grew in the hurly burly of writing workshops more than a decade ago.That's a good thing.
I love taking photos. Anyone who reads this blog would know that, but what I've come to realise is that I'm a lot more attached to the process of making the picture than I am to the finished result. I like some of the finished results, but once they're done, I just want to go out and take more photos. There's something I really enjoy about looking for the picture. Finding something new to see. Reframing my world. The pictures in this post were taken on the hill around Hobart airport, waiting for a delayed plane. Shan said that the light was all wrong but I dragged him up the hill, saying there's always something. In the end, he thought the tree was the photo and went and collected rubbish and discussed framing and other technical matters. But I liked the ones of the hill without the tree better in the end. He's strictly a film type photographer, but I love the immediacy of digital. And that once you have the camera, it's cheap. But no matter what the process, hanging out with and taking pictures together, that was great. It really was. And I like these pictures, even if I look at them and see some ISO and manual camera issues. Because apart from any minor quibble about technical learning issues, they remind me of the weekend just gone in a sweeter and more sorrowful way than words alone.
If I'm ranting, I guess I'm still in angry mode, not from the comment so much, but from life and loss. It seems to be that every time something sad happens, I travel down that road again; re-visiting old griefs and being mad at myself for feeling like that. It didn't help that work today was extra, extra busy, two days worth of customers and I was keeping all that anger locked inside of me in a tight little ball. Being pleasant and helpful. I suppose that's why people make comments like that, because they have anger inside that has festered. Funnily though, it kind of makes me feel as though I've come of age as a blogger. The trolls are visiting. Pfft.
Anyway, there's two really nice things to look forward to on the weekend. Like really nice, involving fellow bloggers, who I imagine will be really lovely. Actually, I know they will be really lovely. And there will be relaxation and craft. I can't wait. Just one more day at work.
* Yes and Yes/No. If that makes sense.
Updated to add, I've deleted the nasty comment. Meant to before, but have just got around to it. I think the gist of what was said is contained in my response. Which is enough to hold onto.