#22: Walking the Process Path

Aperture's Book on Process, Critical Mass Top 50, Walking & Aging, plus photoessay links!

One reason I’m fascinated by the creative process is because there are nearly an infinite variety of answers to the problems an artist is trying to solve. Creativity and novelty arrive when an artist skillfully combines, remixes and reinterprets ideas and life experiences into something new.

While there are strategies and tactics that artists can learn from other artists, for the most part they are on their own and need to develop their own process. And that can take a long time. Some artists discover it early, for others it takes more time. I feel I’m in the latter category.

I go through periods where I’m overly focused on process and pursuing new ideas rather than bringing a project to completion. It can feel like you’re spinning your creative wheels at time but I think it’s best to follow your intuition than to force something that doesn’t feel right.

There’s certainly no rule about when an artwork or a project is considered complete. A project can take a day or a decade. And perhaps completing it is not really the point, after all there are ‘Finite and Infinite Games’ (seriously, I can’t recommend this book enough.)

For now, I’m continuing to follow my intuition because I feel that I’m still discovering new ideas in my process, especially as I introduce new variables and research. With a birthday right around the corner, I can say I’m in no hurry. I’m thankful and happy that I get another year and chance to keep solving problems and evolve as a photographer.

“You make a lot of things that don’t work, and you just keep narrowing it down until you get the right image. When everything’s going wrong it’s agony. My least favorite part is when I work on a painting for six months to a year and then I have to erase it and start over. I just wipe out six months of work.

If nothing’s working, I don’t beat it to death. I’ll eat lunch and then I’ll start over on something else. I don’t try to make things happen. They’re either going to flow, or I leave them alone.” - Marilyn Minter

“The book is structured through a Proust-like questionnaire, in which individuals are each asked the same set of questions, creating a typology of responses that allows for an intriguing compare and contrast.”

On the topic of photographic process, Aperture is out with a new book on the topic called ‘PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice’ edited by curator Sasha Wolf. It’s a great list of photographers, including Alec Soth, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Catherine Opie, Gus Powell, Ed Panar and Manjari Sharma. Plug alert: I think it’d make a nice companion book to ‘Photographers Sketchbooks.’

Critical Mass Top 50

Congratulations to the top 50. You can always find quality work from this list each year. Photographer Barbara Strigel mixes pedestrianism and collage nicely in her series. And Joshua Dudley Greer continues to gain accolades for his book ‘Somewhere Along the Line’ which documents the sometimes surreal spaces along the United States freeway system.

“The “algorithmic timelines” on Instagram and Twitter breed suspicion that looser, messier posts are being hidden from view, obscured by carefully framed announcements of engagements and jobs, pregnancies and euthanized pets. These platforms operate with a brittle predictability. But TikTok deals in the illusion, at least, of revelation. Even if all I’m doing is tapping my screen, “discovering” new videos has the feel of an internet treasure hunt.” - Amanda Hess

I’ve been using TikTok for a month now, and have been surprised by the mix of videos that arrive in the ‘For You’ feed. I tend to enjoy the daily observational humor more than the sketch comedy. And naturally there’s enough funny food and animal videos to keep you entertained until the sun turns into a white dwarf. I’ve even created a few of my own videos and I’m happy to report that I already have teens offering to ‘show me how to edit.’

A Correlation Between Walking Speed & Aging

"This study found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age," said Prof Terrie E Moffitt, lead author from King's College London and Duke University in the US.

Even at the age of 45, there was a wide variation in walking speeds with the fastest moving at 2m/s at top speed (without running).

In general, the slower walkers tended to show signs of "accelerated ageing" with their lungs, teeth and immune systems in worse shape than those who walked faster. - BBC

Sometimes my promotion of walking feels like I’m just telling people to eat their vegetables and go to be early. I think the science is really fascinating and the more I read about it, the more assured I become that building a strong walking culture can cure a lot of our health and environmental problems. Getting there is going to take a lot of work though.

Further Reading

Whether for transportation or recreation, walking bestows the gift of time. Done by choice, untethered from the market and wireless contraptions, it can be an act of defiance. At its most pure, walking connects us to the people and places where we are right now. - Born to Walk by Dan Rubinstein