It has been obvious to me for quite sometime that this blog has reached its end, at least in its present guise.

Blog writing can be a bit like photography itself – you can reach an impasse and start to grab at different subjects or techniques in the hope that something will stick.

I started this blog back in 2011 and since then it has had a few face lifts. The idea was to share failures and successes in my quest to learn darkroom printing. The act of writing about them would solidify for me any lessons. Slowly the blog expanded into commenting on what I learnt from other photographers.

The snag is that it’s got a bit tired and repetitive. These days most people who want to learn about technical subjects go to YouTube or its equivalents.

So where next?

I reach 70 years old later this year. Although I am still very fit and active, my circumstances and interests have changed a lot. I am now a full-time carer in my home, facing possible isolation and looking back over an adventurous and varied life rather than forwards to possibilities. This is a normal part of ageing, a process of coming to terms with stuff. The question is how to make the best of it and to continue to learn.

So decisions:

  • Firstly, I am lucky enough to have a darkroom and photographic studio in a stand-alone house on my property. I am opening this up to local photographers on a non-profit basis. The idea is to support local photographers and the local photographic arts scene, to support the social dimension of photography.
  • Secondly, I want to direct my own efforts towards what photography can do for us as sentient, sapient beings. I am particularly motivated by how photographs can help those whose lives are blighted by the various types of Dementia, but also the whole process of ageing in a dignified way.
  • Finally, the content of the site will be less technical. I am more interested in how photographs can move people. Content will therefore include video and soundscapes. It will draw on literature, poetry, music as well as photographs.

I don’t know how the web-site will look yet. Changes will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

I hope, dear reader, that you will continue to drop by.

8 thoughts on “Where next for sidewayseye?

  1. Ah, but … your information is reliable, YouTube is hit and miss. I chuckle at some of the dribble about photographic issues by 30-somethings with 20,000 followers. A couple of years ago, one of them gave a very critical review of Ilford Ortho, one of my fave films. It didn’t state the developer so I inquired; his response: “I don’t know, whatever the lab uses.” Colour me gobsmacked.
    The photo-world NEEDS informed, experienced photographers like yourself posting sound information. Don’t stop, please!

    1. Hi Russ, many thanks for the comment. I won’t stop, just a change in the balance. I don’t think I engage as well as I might.

  2. I hope you continue with your writing of photographic details and darkroom methods.
    Hybrid methods have become common these days with people preferring to scan their negatives.
    Darkroom printing and enlarging is something that I would like to see and read more of.

    1. Thanks Keith – I will continue to write about darkroom methods, but hope to do it in a more engaging way.

  3. Hi Tony, I will of course continue to drop by, it is a valued space in my opinion. It was good to read about the things which we had touched on previously, and I can absolutely understand why you would want to make such changes, I look forward to see how the evolution progresses with much interest. All the best, Steve.

  4. Sideways –
    You have done a good thing, keeping alive a resource for those willing to tap it.

    Aging is definitely a pain in the neck, but there are some good things that come of it. We slow down, cracks in perfection become assets, our vision becomes more lucid. Much about art is process driven which gives value to our hand and perceptions. An example: I did not know about muscle memory before starting to tap dance at fifty (now seventy-three). Muscle memory is integral in recreating versions of drawings. Though I keep a photo image of sources to place details.

    About tired and repetitive, qualities which also creep into work and is an opportunity to explore how life is added to imagery. Risk and invention typically put familiarity to bed (familiarity breeds something). Age and experience has a conditioning effect on the resultant uncertainty. This context can be both stabilizing and refreshing to what may otherwise be raw.

    There is a liberation and freedom with aging. I do one-offs and multiples on paper. This leads to an inventory. Though not a photographer, photographers have the same problem. What to do with the inventory? It now has its own evolution and history (four decades of combining images and language). My children are sincerely interested in what I do, but leaving them thousands of pieces would not be constructive. I have started giving away pieces. It began with a neighbor visiting and grabbing a piece (“I’ll send cash.”). Seeing it in her kitchen made me happy. I framed up twenty pieces, put them on the wall, grabbed neighbors off the street and told them to pick one. This seemed slow, so I signed up with the local Artwalk (Lewiston/Auburn in Maine). With forty pieces framed, thirty-three were given out in three hours.

    It has been a blast. All were encouraged to find something that speaks to them and put it under their arm. I have done many exhibits, the work was studied like never before. Everyone was happy. There is a pre-filled provenance (letterpress) with each piece, people were patient while I added their name, signed and explained it. Each piece now has a narrative starting with the new owner. I keep a spreadsheet with owners, titles, edition #s and Bates #s.

    Everyone in a family is welcome to a piece. There was a print from Signs of Affection which an elementary school aged child chose. I cautioned the parent, some of the language is a bit loaded. The parent looked me in the eye and told me it was perfect. The language: Horizontal – Vertical – Decide.

    So the plan is to keep giving away prints. It is about disbursement. I frame archival and seem to have plenty of materials and frame stock. If I give a hundred a year, there will still be a thousand left over after ten years. Currently doing stone lithography, it has a bit of a learning curve.

    The plan:
    1.) Keep tap dancing
    2.) Keep printing
    3.) Keep exploring language with images, both involve symbols, language is difficult
    4.) Do larger one-offs, the wood type inventory is calling
    5.) Keep framing

    Greg Shattenberg

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