Tuesday, December 11

Featuring Maryanne Gobble

Photos by Maryanne Gobble

About two weeks ago I was browsing through online photography magazines, and was immediately struck by the work of Maryanne Gobble
Her photos are exactly the kind of work I am interested in. She takes self portraits in nature, portraits of others (mostly her family), and often works with double exposure.
While researching her, I also found out that we seem to have a lot in common. She is in her thirties, has two young boys, shoots mostly digital because of a minimal budget, loves and writes poetry, and a few other things.
I kept looking through her work over and over again, and finally sat down and contacted her.
I received the nicest email back. She has been an encouragement and inspiration to me since then, and I am actually thankful for the internet, that makes it possible to discover people like that you would normally never meet.
By no means am I saying that my work is comparable to hers. No, it is most definitely levels above mine. She has been featured all over the internet and in several magazines. Be sure to check her out.

I also read through her blog and can relate too much of what she says. Her writing is honest, beautiful, vulnerable and funny. Here are some quotes from her blog that I find wonderfully encouraging:

"I tried portraiture for a few years and hated it. Because when it comes down to it, I don't care about your Christmas cards. Wedding photography? Hated it more. I was married at a court house by choice without a photographer. It's a hard sell for me to act like I care about a large luxurious wedding. No matter how much you pay me.

Luxury. That's my issue I think. It's foreign to me. I grew up in a trailer park and then a few years later found myself working at a  jewelery store. Guess what? I hated it. I hated it soooo much I can hardly stand the thought of diamonds anymore. It's rare I will even wear my own wedding ring.  I don't think luxury is wrong, it just doesn't hold value to me.  It's foreign.  I don't get exited about it.

Where does that put me as a fine art photographer? If you'll notice I've halted selling prints for now. And I don't think anyone is too heartbroken. I mean I have images plastered all over the internet for your viewing pleasure.  When myhuman series is finished I'll pull it together in tangible form.

But this, this is why I wake up everyday and chase the light.  To be alive. To answer the pulsing call in my veins that cannot be quenched otherwise. And that is enough for me. If every picture I had taken was suddenly deleted (like almost happened last night) it would not be in vain. 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman

"What the world doesn't need is a bunch of sniveling photographers."  - Maryanne Gobble"

Here is another one.

"I photographed what people expected me to photograph for several years.  Babies, sunsets and the like. I was particularly annoyed everyone liked the kissing frogs on a rose shot. About a year ago I decided to become comfortable in my own skin and take pictures only I can take. Last I checked there is only one Maryanne Gobble."

Last but not least, I love her attitude about shooting digital versus film. Something I definitely can relate to.

"A few days ago my kids came across my old film negatives and I found myself explaining what they are. "Cool!" squeaks my son, "Let me take some!" I explained my battery was dead, I have no film, and even if I did I still can't currently afford to develop the film. Not one roll.

Which got me thinking, Thank goodness for digital cameras!  There is a lot of talk these days of a watered down industry with everyone toting around a digital camera.  Soap boxes are pulled out everywhere with artists shouting through their megaphones about the unfairness of it all.  Unfair?  Really?

Tell me, what is so unfair about more access to art?  What is so unfair about more income levels having access to tools?  What is so unfair about more people expressing themselves?  Because I can tell you right here and now my photo taking would have stopped years ago if I still had to purchase film.  Almost my whole body of work never would have happened.  Non existent, zilch. Silenced.

Our income definitely falls within the US government standards of poverty.  Which sounds dumb to say because US poverty is still rich by world standards.  But my point being it's not a big enough income to afford much film.  How did I buy my current digital camera?  Umm..  I don't recommend but I cashed out a 401k from a workplace I had been at for a decade.  I was desperate.

And you know what else this brings to the feasting table of imagery?  A wider variety of voices, a deeper sea of soul.  Suddenly it's not just an elite art form.  The circle suddenly just got bigger, and in my opinion better.  More walks of life now have representation.  A more complex slice of humanity handed around.  

So much competition.  Which is stupendous news.   For everyone whining about the over saturated playing field.  It just means only the best and hardest working will stand out.  Even if it's the newcomers storming the elitist game called art."

So, what I get out of all these quotes for myself is the following: 

1. Taking digital is just fine, since it is pretty much all I can afford, and believe me, I am grateful for my camera, very grateful.
2. People, even people that are close to me, might and will not like my photos, but I have to take pictures for myself and not for other people. It's funny, it seems to be the case sometimes that often the pictures that I like the least, are the most popular, and the pictures I like best, nobody seems to like very much. 
3. I love photography more than anything on this earth, except of course for my family and friends. I wake up and immediately think about images, I go to sleep with images in my head. When a picture turns out the way I imagined it, it's the best feeling in the world. I often daydream.... about images. The urge to create images is like hunger and thirst all together.
But I have a lot of fear to take photos that I really want to take. "Go do it anyways," is what Maryanne would say to me, I am sure.
4. I think photography is what I should be doing, no matter what anyone else says. I feel like I was locked up in a box for most of my life, and finally, finally came out of it. Now I still have to let go of some of that annoying fear. But I know one thing for certain. Just like Maryanne I feel alive when I do what I love, and I want to keep it that way.


Bethany said...

Yes! I think too, because photography is so accessible now with digital format (which is a good thing!), it's even more important to take photos that YOU want to take. There are millions of photographers out there taking photos that other people want in the style they want - that is a valid need to be met, but not everyone can or should meet it. And how boring if we are all copying one another, trying to take the same style or type of images. Everyone should take the images they see in their own heads. For some people that will be very commercial-looking, and for some it won't. But we will have the individuality coming through. That's important.

Julia said...

Let me be the first to comment. I agree that her aesthetic is remarkably similar to yours. How neat that you found her and feel energized by her work and her story.

What you are saying about waking up with images in your head reminds me of something I just read in an interview with Barbara Kingsolver. She says that she wakes up with sentences in her head. It seems like there is no question left about whether or not this is what you should be doing.

Evelina said...

Having passion about something is so rare. Go for it!
Following your passion could be a tough job though, precisely because it's yours and nobody, or very few will be able to see the things the way you see them. The story how everybody loved the kissing frogs on a rose bud is hilarious. One would rarely know if somebody somewhere found their work and got really inspired by it. The fear is the biggest enemy, because it is a constant companion.
But I really believe that if you have the passion inside you it would guide you, it will even pull and push you. Being close to yourself would also teach your kids how to be courageous in life.
Eh, this was an inspiring post on your blog, you see :).