I may be no Sebastião Salgado, but I’ve been enjoying playing with my camera, which has led me to surfing Flickr, which has brought back both my appreciation of photography as an art and journalistic form and the wide array of talent out there. I haven’t been semi-serious about taking photos or films since early in college, but I think my disappointment at realizing I didn’t have the drive, talent and boldness necessary to work seriously in the field (or in music, for that matter, although that was more due to a lack of self-confidence, I believe) caused me to shut it out of my daily life. A perfectionist since I can remember, studying the arts made me somewhat harshly critical - more toward my own work than others', but enough so that I still rarely go to movies or live music shows (I paid how much for this crap? And why am I not exhibiting/up on that stage?). It’s only in the last few years, as my angst-ridden creative past fades in memory and I learn how to enjoy some things just for what they are (dumb reality TV shows, for example), that I can allow myself to both dabble without demanding utter excellence from myself and truly be blown away by some artists’ work without undue resentment.
It’s with this in mind that I hope to get to a photography exhibit by Alessandra Sanguinetti and a local gallery. I just found out about her in the New Yorker, and I am profoundly moved by and taken with her pictures, particularly those in her show The Sixth Day. Her portraits are occasionally contrived, but highly skillful, and my skepticism is washed away by much of this series. The horror and beauty of human and animal life and death on a farm make me feel both crushed and full of wonder at the intricacy of the design of living bodies. On the sixth day, it is said, God created animals and man, and Sanguinetti conveys the beauty and harshness of that creation as it appears in everyday life in her work.