To Die TwiceSunday, February 18, 2018
In January I read this review of books by Martin Amis and Zadie Smith in the New York Times. I was struck by a sentence in which Amis opines on one of his favourite authors, Nabokov. This is what hit me at the jugular:
“Writers die twice,” he observes in an essay on Nabokov. “Once when the body dies, and once when the talent dies.” Can we pinpoint when a writer’s talent begins to fail?
My career as a photographer which I started in the early 70s in Mexico City began in earnest in Vancouver by 1977. From then on I bought new equipment, new lighting and experimented at length with all kinds of techniques. I was challenged to excell by very good art directors. I competed with other photographers for atention and for jobs.
Now at 75, obsolete, redundant & retired, am I in that Amis category that my talent for portraiture has waned?
Personally, and by that I have to be subjective, I think that my photography, no longer dictated by the desires of art directors is more personal and edgy.
Are photographers like badly fixed b+w photographs and destined to fade away in very much the same way Douglas MacArthur was the fate of military generals?
I am currently shooting new stuff. But I am also looking at old negatives (and in this case a b+w contact sheet of b+w 35mm pictures in which I used Kodak Infrared film) and finding ways of re-interpreting my initial intentions. Is this a mark of decline or of a late budding innovation?