This past week has been spent at the computer, finishing up my crop plan for 2013 and ordering seeds. I haven’t made a dang thing in the studio, or picked up a pencil to draw. I did take some pots down to Bill Bachhuber for some jury images. The pots are very bright – the last B Mix pots – and I will have to use the images as a set of 4. They are “greener” and “whiter” than stoneware images from the past couple of years. It seems to me now that some of the pieces were really NOT special enough for jury slides, as I see them now in these images.
If you’ve never been to see a professional art photographer at work, it’s pretty interesting.
I take my work to Bill Bachhuber here in Portland. He’s very professional – extremely particular, in fact, and I love to see his photos of my pots. It’s like really see them for the first time. All the jury process has moved on line now, for the most part – either to Zapplication or Juried Arts Services – so it’s really different than when I started doing shows in the 90’s – we mailed slides to shows. What a transition….
Bill went digital about four or five years ago. Before that, tidy little boxes of slides and their dupes came in the mailbox. I have a big box of extras to this day, just rubbish now. Everything but the camera and the processor are about the same – lots of lights, cables, control boxes, huge rolls of tinted background papers and a big table to roll them out on.
My job is to fetch the pots, and operate the switch for the room light. We talk about the height of the camera, the light and shadow on the pot. Bill sits in a chair and gets the camera ready. He takes a shot or two, and then we take the memory stick in to his big Mac and we look at them on the screen. I’m always thinking about how they will look to the jurors; those mystery beings. Most of them circle in orbits different from those of we lowly functional potters….
Many pots have to be shot with side panels in place so more light can be cast on the pot without creating glaze. Bill cleans glare from the pots at the computer with painstaking care. He’s a master of Photoshop, he must really like that part of the transition from film. He’s really happiest when I bring in really matte pieces, I think. He has a way of saying “shiny” that is loaded with disapproval.
This is the shot from the session that I like best. It’s an utterly silly and useless pot that makes the best kind of slide. It was fun to make, but the lid flew off the wheel while I was trimming it and is vaguely irregular. You can’t see that in this photo. The knob also blew off in the bisque – I didn’t pierce into with a trim tool as I was instructed now 20 year ago. But I joined it on with glaze and it is secure. There is also a tiny crack in the center of the base, which also cannot be seen in the image. Now you know all its’ secrets!
If I take it to a show, there will be women – usually serious, tidy homemakers from the sturdy peasant stock – who will ask “What’s it for?” I will act as if I have never heard that question before, and I will say (as I always do) that is for serving tapioca pudding to your darling grandchild. If a guy should ask the question, I will smile and tell him it’s for safekeeping his $100 dollar bills. The real truth, of course, is it that it was thrown, trimmed, carved, bisqued, painted, and fired in my demon salt kiln just to get the attention of some juror in a stuffy little room somewhere staring at a Zapp screen with a latte in her hand.