Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What If A Portrait Studio From 1920 Suddenly Appeared In Your 'hood ?

Whether it's creativity or not, something happens when I start making images that feels like I'm tuning into something. Unfortunately, I'm my own worst enemy when it comes down to focusing in (no pun intended) and proposing projects to be funded. My imagination packs its trunk and takes a holiday in Diluth. Luckily, I have a lot of great people around me who can see things a bit more from the outside.

I met with Amie Potsic yesterday. She's the director of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists here in Philadelphia. We talked about grants, looked at work and discussed what I really wanted to do. I went in feeling rather diffuse, but left with the germ of an idea that I just have to follow: a real, live 1920's style photo studio, albeit a temporary one. Most likely the portraits would be free.

The notion dovetails perfectly with the type of photography I've been doing. It too fits perfectly the idea of making a real community connection. I'll actually be IN the neighborhood and become a working part of it. The prospect of having a creative space with props, accessories, costumes and backdrops at my disposal, rather than having to shlep eighty pounds of gear and be limited by what I can physically carry, is vastly appealing; but moreover it should allow a very different, more meaningful and sophisticated body of work to emerge.

The idea of a pop-up storefront studio has been done before by others, but never as a long-term project. I'm hoping to be in-residence for four to six months. It really all depends on economics. 7th Street in deep South Philadelphia, where I hope to continue my community-based art, had once been a nexus of Jewish immigrants and Jewish-owned stores. None remain today. So, there is an added poignancy in my doing this, an additional eccentric circle drawn in the sands of history.

Now the real work begins.

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