Wednesday, January 09, 2008

300th Post: My Last?

It was fun while it lasted.

When I was shooting erotica, the blog was a good idea. I could post new work immediately, I could rant about the fuckers who harassed me, sexually and otherwise, and I could notify people of various professional developments. Fact is, now that I mostly shoot portraits and fashion (and have "officially become boring" according to one asshole reader--thanks, buddy), I have no need for the blog. The title is no longer accurate. It's gotten easier to post new work directly to the site. I intend to shoot more regularly, so checking the site once a month would suffice. I might still post a notice if I'm in a show, but I've cut back on submitting to those, too, so even those posts would be cut back to a minimum. I just don't need the blog anymore. I'll keep it up for the time being, just in case, but I doubt I'll really use it.

I want to address the fashion/erotica thing. While most of the feedback I've gotten on the new site has been positive (thankfully), a few people have expressed their anger and disappointment in the switch. I'm flattered you liked the photos so much, but I'm not sorry. I'd say 75% of my experiences were positive--I'm proud of the work I made, and I met some great people; erotic art is still so misunderstood, and I'm glad most people I've met have been open-minded and sex-positive. But the harassment and lack of creative flexibility just got to be too much. I had potential clients who didn't care about the art, craft, or skill of photography, and just wanted to be shot masturbating by some 20-something chick. A lot of people assumed I got off on watching, and were shocked and angered when I informed them that no, this was my job, and I expected to be paid. One man went so far as to call me a "cunt" when I explained I didn't work pro bono. As for recent requests for self-portraits, I won't show my face in conjunction with the work because it would be too easy to lose objectivity when looking at my work. If you thought I was attractive, your opinions of my photos could be artificially inflated. If you thought I was ugly, you might think, unfairly, those same photos just lost their eroticism. But beyond that, why ask the question in the first place? Would you still care if you knew I was a guy? Or 50? Why should it matter what I look like? If you think I'm good, I'll still be good no matter what I look like. If you think I'm a hack, being beautiful wouldn't change a thing.

I'm not leaving erotica, I'm just expanding my repertoire. Shooting fashion is SO different from erotica, it's such a challenge, and I have so much to learn. It's an incredibly competitive field, and I have a way to go before I get any kind of notoriety or recognition (or skill?) But it's fun. I haven't felt this energized about photography in a long, long time. It feels....comfortable. No one cares what I look like, the threat of harassment is almost completely gone, and I get to experiment and challenge myself the way I should have a long time ago. Erotica just got too easy. I'll still shoot it, but for now, I want to feel like I'm working when, you know, I'm working.

The blog might stay, or it might go, I haven't decided. Comment, don't comment, whatever. In the meantime, I'm just going to shoot my tush off. I fly back to CA next week, and I already have four shoots planned.


Anonymous paul burd said...

I think it's awesome that you've found something new that energizes you. That can sometimes be a struggle.

On the matter of leaving the site up or not, I personally think you should leave it up, even if you never post here again. You do great work. This blog represents a period of time in your life, and it should be preserved. Leaving it online won't hurt anyone, but taking it down will prevent people from stumbling across this great body of work in the future. You may also find that reviewing the blog at some point later may invigorate you again.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Samantha Wolov said...

paul--thanks! that seems like a good idea.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Dave Lawson said...

Yeah, I'd definitely vote for leaving the archive in place, even if the blog goes dark, as it were. It is, really, an archive, and there's no reason not to let it sit with the rest of the Google-able accumulation of the internet.

I don't know, I always found your posts interesting and fun to read, and I really do love reading photographer's blogs, particularly those (like you) whose work I really admire. In part it's because I like having a view into parts of the industry I know I'm never going to have the time or talent to see and partly because, well, you're way better at this kind of thing than I am, and pros frequently mention things I've never heard of or thought of that can help amateur shooters. Or they shoot right over my head, either way.

Maybe you should consider taking the blog in a slightly different direction? Less anecdotal and more about the challenges and lessons learned from the new kind of work you're doing? I'd certainly be inclined to think you've still got a lot of interesting things to say, just perhaps not in quite the same vein.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

I also would leave, its the great thing about blogs, that they works as archives too. In 10 years you will probably be glad to look back at it and see your development too.

Best regards, Hans

3:47 PM  
Anonymous cnimigean said...

i think you've arranged this with Chip. you are running away with him. damn!

i will still looking for your (he)art!

best regards.
me. :)

thank you!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Callicrates said...

I'd only found your blog recently, almost totally at random, so I don't feel qualified to say anything about whether or not it should stay around.

As for the changing focus of your work, here's the thing. You may have an audience of hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. They have the easy part. You are the one who gets up every morning to actually do the work. That gives you the unalloyed authority to choose any focus you want and to tell anyone who complains or considers you "boring" just how little their complaints matter. It's your call.

Will I look forward to seeing the erotic work you do? Of course! I'm also eager to see what you do with fashion, with portraits, with... whatever, really. It's not the subject in front of the camera that interests me. It's what you do with it.

I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to shoot.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your pictures... and your attitude!Good luck with your new challenges. There is no picture of you but I know you are a beautiful person, it's written in your words!


12:12 PM  
Blogger Samantha Wolov said...

eric--such kind words! thank you!

5:49 PM  

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