Abandoned Work

Until last year I was using a Fuji Instax to take Polaroid-like photos alongside my regular digital work. The film isn’t cheap and honestly has little appeal to me- you get one special image out of $30 worth of shots. I included the comparison of a final digital image with post work and the corresponding “Polaroid” and it’s clear there’s no contest as to which is superior.

Every photographer who works creates series has series concepts that simply don’t pan out.  By “series”, I mean a set of photographs that visually make a greater statement when combined than they do individually.  The easiest kind of series is to pick a thing and photograph that thing in different ways or scenarios.  Then there are series that tell the story of a subject/ concept in the way documentary photographers do.

With the ground rules in place- there are a lot of reasons why a series doesn’t come together.

The photographer lost interest.

The work was never edited properly into a series.  Currently I have a ton of nature images that don’t add up to anything.

The work involved collaborators who weren’t available to complete everything.  In the case of a series of bodypainted images, the bodypainter became unavailable after we got ½ through the proposed series of Goddess images.

The work involved equipment that failed, was sold etc.  I had some fun doing lomography work but gave away the camera in a contest before I ever got a series out of it.

The series didn’t show depth or variety.

And sometimes those series just take a long, long, long time to put together.

New Memorial 15-2
While I was at ASU I minored in American Indian Studies, which has a pro-indigenous component to it. I also worked in a rehab with a large Native American teenager population. This was an attempt to explore the effects of alcohol on local indigenous culture by shooting memorials on reservations, but I quickly realized I was not a spokesman for tribal issues or someone with a personal stake in the issue, just an outsider trying to make art out of someone else’s pain. In the end I had very little to say about the subject and discomfort with the series made me abandon it.

Lately I’ve been trying to sort out my lingering series and turn them into something that could be a gallery show, a folio, a book, a print set, whatever.

Chun Li lights up-2
Shot with my Diana F film camera. The amount of time and money shooting film negatives, scanning them and spotting out dust didn’t justify getting these kind of images.
Glass Olive destructo 2-2
From an attempt to salvage the Diana F- multiple chaotic exposures that wouldn’t need spotting since the dust was part of the appeal. Still didn’t set my world on fire.

I still haven’t found a way to recover some of the false starts to series, but they are always interesting to revisit and try to figure out where it went wrong and what went right- we learn more from our failures than our successes.


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I'm a multimedia artist in Phoenix, AZ. Main Site - http://www.primordialcreative.com Instagram @primordialcreative + twitter @dbmillerphoto

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