There are people that come into your life inspiring perspective. They challenge your standards with theirs, and have the power to reverse the discouragement and doubt that might have weighed you down. They bring with them periods of enlightenment and growth. I think this is especially valuable in the case of artists; to enjoy someone else’s creativity and passion is one of the most motivating experiences, regardless of medium.
Dave Mentzer, a film photographer based out of Frederick MD, is one of those people. I have had the pleasure of watching him work from both in front of the camera and behind the scenes styling his shoots, and although I am no photographer (completely technically challenged*), his craft has changed mine.
Dave’s work is a process of intention, and every single frame is an opportunity for perfection. From the moment the shutter clicks, through the development, editing and upload, every decision is valued. He is critical and precise and if the result isn’t up to his standards, it never sees the light of day.
In contrast, there’s me.
I intentionally avoid thinking anything through, and produce endless amounts of rubbish until something I like happens to manifest itself from my hand. My work is technically embarrassing, my materials are often improvised and, although I am critical of my work, I never did commit to personal development as to maybe create art I’d actually like to share with the world.
But this summer I practiced every day, I experimented, actually completed projects I started, and I am branching out in mediums and planning and committing to bigger projects for the future.
I am an artist, but denied that for years. I was discouraged and lazy and impatient and insecure. So I want to share a few of the amazing creatives I’ve worked with/hope to meet, who’s own dedication and talent inspired mine. Artists with different mediums and stories and processes and influences that stand for the lesson that there is no one, or right, way to be an “artist”.
It took for me to see how other artists CAN, to even try.
This series is of my studio space, photographed by the lovely Dave. And my methods might be a right fucking disaster, but it’s ok. Because at least now I’m actually creating.
Photography by Dave Mentzer