January 1, 2012
I had a frustrating time yesterday trying to photograph colored letters against a black background with a flash (yeah I know) but the deal with a lot of the text work I do is that it looks great in my head but doesn’t work out in the flesh, so to speak. I think this has more to do with my “studio space” and equipment than with skill failure on my part but text work is tricky because you’re not only dealing with the message in the word(s) and the materials involved but also with typography and readability and graphic design and with everyone comparing all your text work to Ed Ruscha all the time because stencils happen to come in Helvetica. So there’s that.
Planning everything in my head accounts for I’d say about 70% of the text stuff; the rest is impulse that either gets quietly deleted or works immediately. And I’m not always sure why. This is one of my favorite photos from last year and of course the word is loaded but there’s something about the torn cardboard and the blobby stencil and the cat hair that just works, none of which I could have planned in advance. Photos of that new work soon if it’s salvageable but first because it’s on hand here’s the blunt, aggressive photo I’m talking about: