I spent last weekend at a workshop given by Brooks Jensen, of LensWork magazine fame. He is touring the western states, so I had to travel if I wanted to attend. I missed out on Portland and couldn’t get to San Francisco, so I went to Los Angeles, which allowed me to drive afterwards up to San Luis Obispo and photograph there for a few days and then take the train to San Jose/Palo Alto.
The workshops, actually a series of half-day seminars, started with the question of what to do with all the photographs you make, even just the better ones, since you couldn’t hang them all on the wall, and even if ‘better’ they aren’t all greatest hits after all. And then went on to explore various alternative approaches to organizing them and presenting them. Focus then was on the idea of projects, and folios. Most interesting for me, since I have been helping Jill as she has started to publish poetry chapbooks, was the idea of photographic chapbooks, that is, a related series of photographs, probably with some accompanying text.
To some extent, the material was familiar from reading articles and blog posts by Brooks, but it is always helpful to see the ideas brought together into a whole. And, as he said, he has been doing this for a while and so we were afforded the ability to see, and therefore bypass, all the things he had tried that hadn’t worked, and go straight to what seemed more likely to prove satisfying.
Of course, I’m still left with the problem of exactly which photographs to select, and what to say. But I have more ideas, and more signposts now.