Writing on this website began as a way of me finding my way back to photography.
When your mind and energies are focused on a thing for a lengthy or particularly charged amount of time, it is easy to become fixated on the frayed edges of that thing, and lose the capacity to regard the whole. And when an ideal fails you—or you, it—some rearrangement and shifting of a former worldview must, by necessity, occur.
This was the state I was in when I began asking myself: What was it I originally loved about photography? What did I think photography had the ability to compel and convey that other genres lacked? Beyond any disappointments or malaise I had about failures of the medium, or failures of imagination on the part of some of its practioners, what work was there—both historic and current—that I could uncover and consume that could return me to a place of enthusiasm and engagement with that which I had once loved? If the models I had been exposed to were flawed, what other models were there? If I didn’t like the questions some photographers were asking (or the fact that some photographers seemed to have no questions), where were the photographers that were asking questions that I did think were interesting, worth the thought and effort? And also: what else informs photography and photographers apart from photography? Or at the very least who was out there that looked, read and whose work was just as influenced by dance, politics, poetry and painting as by the camera they used?
I needed to manage the trick of an abrupt about-face. To go on a search party for people I didn’t know, who approached things in radically different ways than from what I knew, and who were making things that I would have to work at to understand. My investigations made in the general direction of those questions led me—primarily, but not exclusively— to the work of Japanese photographers. A large chunk of the writing here both in the past and moving forward is devoted to looking at and thinking about the legacy of post WWII era Japanese photography and those making work from within and without that legacy now. It’s a rather niche world, I grant you, but one that is disorienting and rewarding in the best of ways.
Stacy Platt is an independent arts writer, educator and photographer living in Colorado. She currently teaches photography at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, and is the editor for the Society for Photographic Education‘s scholarly journal Exposure. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org