Thursday, October 24, 2013
My blog is very different now than it was when I began.
When my blog was very young, I was working through a ton of misunderstandings and confusion about who I was, and I was trying to fill a lot of roles that really weren't mine to fill. I am not down on myself for that process. That being said, my blog was a manifestation of that part of my journey of growth. (Not that I have arrived or am finished growing. Quite the opposite.)
Then I went through a very difficult time in my life, while simultaneously my professional career as a photographer began. The tone and focus of my blog shifted from being intensely personal and family-oriented to being more about (to borrow a term from a documentary I love) 'visual acoustics'. My work was improving and this place became a way for me to share what I was learning visually. I still wrote bits and pieces about my family, which had changed dramatically, but found myself struggling about what to write. There was no way to communicate how I felt. There was no exact or succinct way to communicate both despair and hope and the drama of our lives, in which those dynamics interplayed on a daily basis. There was also the issue of scrutiny and my frustration with being misunderstood, something I still struggle with today. I realized I no longer wanted to share about my personal life on my blog, because this wasn't how I could be known and understood, truly, the way I wanted to be. Well -- not with regard to the path my and the girl's life was taking. It was, however, a very beautiful way to be known and understood, through the sharing of my work. I feel that I am able to be honest through my camera. There is a sense in which I can tell the truth using my photographs, a sense in which I can show the beauty latent in what is all around us, not in spite of chaos or disorder but sometimes even because of it. Maybe that all sounds dramatic but I deeply believe in the beauty of life, not despite brokenness, but sometimes made sweeter because of it. Maybe that comes across in my work. I hope it does.
This brings me to why I am writing all this.
I have had the opportunity to collaborate with three immensely talented people to begin a magazine called The Seed & Plate. We are exploring Southern food, farms, and culture, using photographs and words to show the raw beauty of the South. We're not shying away from the mess of this place, but embracing it, and sharing it. We are celebrating the elements of our culture that make us unique through interviews, essays, recipes, art, poems, and photographs. You can visit our website, follow us on instagram and twitter, and like us on Facebook. Look for digital content for fall and winter 2013, and hopefully print in 2014.
How does this correlate to what I wrote above? I recently read some criticism of my blog in which my work was compared to a popular lifestyle publication, and I was surprised, because so much of what I do involves honesty and simple observation, not something stylized or contrived. This is because of what I wrote about above -- the contrast in life between beauty and brokenness, and how they relate. The Seed & Plate is an honest look at the South, and I feel very blessed to be able to work alongside my colleagues who share a vision for the tremendous worth of this place, these people, the food we eat and the history we share. I am thankful to be able to use my craft to communicate with y'all and share beauty.
I hope you'll have a look and follow this adventure with us.
Posted by Paige French at 5:42 PM