Print Making Madness: Missing “The Big Picture”

It is that time. The end of the semester is nearing and my playful exploration of this art now culminates towards the final presentation of my work. 15 prints are needed to be perfected and mounted and while I have more completed than what has been presented here thus far, something seems to be missing. There have been many assignments to guide my fellow classmates and I through the eyepiece and uncover the composition inherent in even the most seemingly mundane aspects of our world. Basic skills such as shutter speed, unusual perspective, and depth of field soon gave way to specific topics such as strangers and portraiture. In the last few weeks, the more esoteric and personal pictures of hands and of god have both thrilled and confounded me.

With such a wide range of themes, it would seem there were enough to choose from. And there are! But how am I to choose between so much without the proper sieve? This has been the issue of much reflection and consternation for me these past couple of weeks. Is there a theme to be had at all? I was not sure.  Week to week, roll to roll and frame to frame there was not a conscientious effort to unite each flicker of the shutter to the one preceding beyond the assignment of the moment. My focus was too narrow and present minded to consider composing between rolls.

It  is only an introductory class, and there was never any intention by the instructor to have us develop a portfolio. Perfectly sensible considering all the skills that have to be developed in order to take a picture good enough to print, then learn to print! Oh, the hours spent at the enlarger tediously doting over each image as if each were the sole singularity of my universe! So absorbed, there was no room left to consider what I like to call, “The Big Picture”. Cliche’, I know, but in this context it fit most perfectly. It brings to mind those images made of hundreds of smaller, unrelated images. The Big Picture.

At this point, just a week before my presentation, I still don’t know what to do. I can’t create a unifying theme where there seemingly is none. My presentation may just be a hodgepodge of my best prints and compositions. And while nothing more is expected of me for the class itself, it is difficult to feel satisfied with what has been done so far. A final effort, I’m working on one last roll in hopes that a bit of photogenic genius comes over me and reveals The Big Picture in situ. Until then, I remain steadfast and hopeful and will continue to wander among the trees in search of the forest.

Lost among the trees without a forest… now that is an interesting idea. I’ll take that path and see where it leads. Happy Trails!

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