Specificity.

by Tim Soter

When you call me and I’m here in the office doing work, this is where I am.

This past weekend I pulled out this photo that, three years ago, I had scanned in and printed large (thanks to a friend with a really nice, giant Epson printer at her work.)

Over the years I’ve told people that part of the true excitement for me regarding photography is… photography allows you to shoot and shoot and then later figure out why you took the photos that you did.  With art you’re making something specifically to feed back to yourself and that’s not only been the appeal of photography for me, it’s been the appeal of life; creating and enjoying things with such specificity. I’ve never retired any of the things that I’ve truly loved and they still manage to bring me ecstasy and true joy… from comic books to New Order songs, well made coffee, photography… the best freedom we have is the ability to pursue, (again with extreme specificity,) the things that engage us the most and bring us the most joy. All joy occurs in your own mind. It’s nearly impossible to really share those specific loves that I mentioned and to what end?

This self-portrait (made about four years ago) actually captures all of that; made when I was high and alone and in my own head, probably depressed and wanting to escape.  It is however a great example of something made without much thought, to be “read” back later and deciphered.  Simultaneously, it also becomes a shield and an icon of power, a complete reversal of my feelings at that moment, presented as truth.  The mask I’m wearing presented by the mask of photography.

EPILOGUE:  I don’t get high any more (forecast: 80% chance of paranoia.) And, to end on a light note, this photo seems very “Clash of the Titans.”