The Art of Making (Fellowship Art)

Global Climate Crisis work.

Shooting with film has nothing to do with a yearning for anything retro; there are some instances where film still makes better photographs than digital cameras. Shooting with film is more labor intensive, but it gets the job done, especially with either tricky lighting or where I need a higher degree of nuanced information in the photo.

The past couple months have been occupied mostly with production work. I'm always a bit surprised at how labor intensive digital photography can be; I timed my Fellowship work so that a first wave of shooting could be done by early winter and I could spend the cold months holed up in my studio office doing the editing work on my computer. I kind of feel like the proverbial reclusive monk and am only missing the shaved head and robes.

My biggest reality check with working on this Fellowship project is simply not teaching this semester. This is the first time that I haven't taught for two consecutive semesters since 1991. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching and even miss some of my students, but having the opportunity to work full-time on this Arts & Humanities Fellowship is pretty nice too.

I got this GPS in Aotearoa (New Zealand) two years ago when I was traveling the country via automobile. It did a splendid job of getting me around the country so I could concentrate on driving on the opposite side of the road and not have to navigate. It's cool that these GPS units talk to you and tell you where to go so you don't have to take your attention from the road. It has a most peculiar woman's Australian accent and became a "She." One of my stops in Aotearoa was at Massey University, where I spent a couple of days as a visiting artist. While having dinner with Robert Jahnke, the Head of the Maori Visual Arts Program, he suggested that perhaps it should be named "Matilda," which is the name she now goes by.

At any rate, Matilda has been my guide on these Fellowship journeys, some of which were quite stormy and gloomy, which ironically enough, made for some excellent photographs.

Over the winter I've been keeping busy with the production work involved with the project. Back in late December, the last rolls of Kodachrome were processed at the lab in Kansas, so I made sure I shot the last 21 rolls of Kodachrome as part of this project. I've got a fairly substantial backlog of work to do at the Research Park, where I have a very nice office with an awesome view of the mountains. I was just talking to a friend online about having an assistant. I told her that I actually need three; a minion, a henchman and a yes-man. But in reality, I like all of the aspects of the work, even the more mundane aspects like archiving the work, which can put you in a Zen-like state if done properly. Ommm. It can be very meditative, which is definitely a part of the creative process.

A sincere note of gratitude goes out to the Boise State University Arts and Humanities Institute and the Boise State University Division of Research for the Boise State University Arts and Humanities Fellowship, which grants faculty the opportunity to work on a fellowship project for a year (I am a Research Fellow for the 2010-2011 academic year).

Story & Photos Copyright Larry McNeil, All Rights Reserved, 2011

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