Nick Gatens

Jun 19

“Serving Size - 15 Chips" (hi res)
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I had a really nice back and forth e-mail chain with a friend at work yesterday - talking about art and the difficulty in sharing what you do. About having confidence in your work and that kind of thing. It is difficult, and the best answer is still the conclusion I came to the other day - just do the work. Not everyone is going to like it, and that’s totally fine.
With that in mind, I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time - so I’m putting it out into the world now even though this image itself is very much a work in progress. It’s a simple idea - an observation on ‘serving size’ - whatever that means these days. I’m not positive anyone actually reads any of the nutritional information on a package. I’ve never seen anyone actually do it in a grocery store - and I always feel like people are staring at me when I do. 
My trouble with this project has been finding the best way to display this information. Like I mentioned the other day, I’m very interested in pattern and shape - and so I like this image in that regard. I’m not positive I love the fact that it’s on a really plain background - though that was a conscious decision. In some ways, I’d like it to be almost as boring as a nutritional label, and a flat and dull background certainly accomplishes that. It might be too dull though - I intend to try a few different presentations until I figure out what works best overall.

Serving Size - 15 Chips" (hi res)

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I had a really nice back and forth e-mail chain with a friend at work yesterday - talking about art and the difficulty in sharing what you do. About having confidence in your work and that kind of thing. It is difficult, and the best answer is still the conclusion I came to the other day - just do the work. Not everyone is going to like it, and that’s totally fine.

With that in mind, I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time - so I’m putting it out into the world now even though this image itself is very much a work in progress. It’s a simple idea - an observation on ‘serving size’ - whatever that means these days. I’m not positive anyone actually reads any of the nutritional information on a package. I’ve never seen anyone actually do it in a grocery store - and I always feel like people are staring at me when I do. 

My trouble with this project has been finding the best way to display this information. Like I mentioned the other day, I’m very interested in pattern and shape - and so I like this image in that regard. I’m not positive I love the fact that it’s on a really plain background - though that was a conscious decision. In some ways, I’d like it to be almost as boring as a nutritional label, and a flat and dull background certainly accomplishes that. It might be too dull though - I intend to try a few different presentations until I figure out what works best overall.

Jun 16

pop culture (hi res)

pop culture (hi res)

Success, two words at a time.

Say thanks.
Give credit.
Show appreciation.
Take responsibility. 
Be genuine.
Laugh often.
Share ideas.
Get uncomfortable.
Embrace failure.
Make mistakes.
Educate yourself.
Read books.
Take notes.
Observe everything.
Have passion.
Ask questions.
Simplify.
Break the rules.
Eschew convenience.
Work hard.

Jun 14

[video]

Jun 12

"It all looks the same."

That’s what started a brief conversation with a dear friend yesterday.

She is struggling with something I think every artist, and perhaps even more every photographer, struggles with. What is the point? Why do we do what we do as photographers? We live in a time where every single day, the amount of photographs created and posted online reach those absurd quantities that most people can’t even imagine or comprehend. Why then, do my silly photographs of leaves and lego minifigures even matter?

I responded with the following:

This pretty much explains where I’ve been. All of these things are beautiful no doubt, but they’re not things I’ve created. Not that I have to be in control mind you, but art to me is just as much about the creation as it is the end result. And I’ve found that my photography started to become less art and more documentary. Which is fine - nothing inherently wrong with documentary - but of course I am not as inspired or creative - because I’m not really creating. I’m basically just a holder for a camera. 

I don’t care really about +1’s or followers - I care about doing something I’m proud of and happy with personally. I just printed a handful of my photos for an art show with some of my friends a month or two ago, and every image I printed had one thing in common that I didn’t realize until after the fact. Nobody else could have created those images. And I think that brings value - that those images are human. They’re me and me alone (even considering that I’m not in the images themselves). For as beautiful as so many other images are - they don’t have the same feeling of humanity - they just seem robotic and cold.

I’ve spent quite a bit more time thinking over this since we had that conversation - mostly wondering what triggered that change in me. Why did I go from creating photos to just being a tripod for the camera in a sense? Honestly, most of the reasons for me are excuses. Same stuff as you always hear; “I have a very stressful job”, “I don’t have enough time.” In reality, they’re all the same excuses that haven’t stopped a ton of other people from doing what they love - but they’ve stopped me. Why? Because any creative pursuit is hard. No matter how talented you are or how much you love to do it - it’s hard. It takes time and skill. We’re hard on ourselves. The work is difficult and often highly technical. It may not always be received well or understood. There are countless reasons and countless excuses - but here’s the real trick:

Do the work. Put in the time and the sweat and the effort - and all that other stuff takes care of itself. It’s scary and difficult and it’s never, never, ever immediate - but when you put in that effort, the work you create does have value; it does matter - because that work is a part of you. 

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Visit my friend here: Sandra Parlow