Mono no aware is the title of my upcoming book. It's a Japanese term that could be translated as an awareness of the transience of things. Like when you're driving home and the sun sets over the vast fields around you and the music's just right and the warm wind in your hair and your friends next to you and conversations go quiet and the long winding road ahead and your mind goes blank and...
I work for months at a time on the images of a story. Mono no aware started out with roughly 30,000 images and will eventually be 32 images for the book (next time I'll talk in detail about the story, promise!). Just thirty-two images...
The Mitsubishi Hi-uni I love most and buy whenever I'm in Tokyo. The Castell 9000 I just found out about, and is a very good second.... the others have yet to convince me.
I'm on a train to Paris.
Somehow, if I can help it, I like most to sit facing backwards. I have no idea why, but it makes me feel more at ease. Visiting friends this time. Super short, just three days. We're usually scattered all over the globe, every one of us busy as hell, with only the occasional skype or imessage or whatsapp to keep in touch. And the occasional tongue-in-cheek over instagram of course... what else...
So once in a while, we'd be kind of on the same continent, with kind of the same flexibility in our schedules.... a message here, a message there... and suddenly it appears it might actually be possible to physically meet up this time. Yes, sure, more often than not, something still comes up and none of us can make it. Yes, sure, we know we've got so much business to take care of that we'll hardly have time to talk. But I'll wager that it isn't the actual reason why we relentlessly keep on trying to meet up time and again. And as much as I now already miss home, I'm looking forward to this one: that split second of looking each other in the eye again after so long, instantly seeing all is ok, and having a drink. This is what it's about.
Oh, and details get filled in at the inevitable late night campfire that follows, of course.
I'm on a train to Paris.
Finally they're here... Limited editions of images from the different projects I've been photographing.
A humble beginning with an edition for three of my projects, and quite an investment of time and money, but I think it is going to be worth it. Most recently, I was able to make a limited edition of prints from the Yakuza project (to accompany the upcoming exhibits). Combined with an edition of my work shot in Mexico on "I was a Dog/I see a Ghost", and an upcoming edition (Q4 this year) of new Dislocate images, that makes three.
So I thought it might be good to combine them all online into one place, keeping things simple and up to date.
All the editions are actually very limited (although the print size is quite large sometimes... you gotta love large prints).... but after a lot of talking with, and advice from, friends, experts in the field and gallery owners, and of course a great deal of soul searching, I think this is the way I should go.
I'm not a full blown art photographer, but I think I've kinda got my act together and once in a while I do want to make available high quality limited editions of my work, preferably in small numbers... so I can keep it personal... and I think - I hope - editions like these ones speak this message and complement everything else I do.
To be honest, yet again I have no clue if this is the right way to go... it just feels like another natural step to take. I'll see how it goes and report back here regularly... check it out: antonkusters.com/editions
And if you're reading this and interested in buying an editioned print, send me a message and I'll give you your password to access the details...
Have a great day today,
P.S. yes, "Sugar" is on the list too... stay tuned! :-)
The best way to start something is to tell everyone that you're going to start something.
Make it public. Get it out of your head and start pitching to friends and foes. Converse. To me, this is not only the moment that the pressure gets on... it's also the moment that ideas come out of my head for a reality check.
I'm sure you know that feeling when for the very first time you talk to someone else about "your new thing", and you feel that, even literally while you're talking, you're constantly discovering holes and illogical things all over the place. No matter how much you've thought it through on beforehand. And after a while, you even start to think: "come on, didn't I realize this, or this, or even this? What on earth was i thinking?". And you see the frowns and feel like going back to the drawing board all over again.
Don't go back. You're fine.
Here's the key: I believe that pitching to friends (and foes) is a necessary process for "maturing" an idea. Some things really only get revealed through dialogue. The people you talk to act kind of like a secret group of touchstones for your idea, and only you know. They help shape. In my case, most of these people don't have anything to do with photography... yet others are seasoned pros... most even don't know they are actually giving me advice... and more often than not, I don't even realize that I'm in need - or getting - advice in the first place.
The only prerequisite is that you have to be open for it happening. And within every single person you're looking for something specific, picking up on body language, hesitation, excitement, the way they react, the words they use, and so forth.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a straightforward "letting yourself be influenced by others"... that would be too far off as well. The spine has to be there first. That's what all the long pondering has been for. And sometimes a pitch works in really weird ways.... I, for one, have someone to whom I regularly propose things to; and if she really hates the project, I know for sure I should go for it. Well, sort of :-)
To me, the pitch is always the most daunting aspect of any project. If i allow it, it can totally make or break my mood or my will to do a project. But I know that I should never avoid it... because realizing at this point that a project needs to change, is much better that only realizing it later on... and possibly having lost lots of time and money.
So presenting my ideas to friends, even if frightening... seems necessary. Even though I've taught myself never to get put off completely.... I've often made much more sensible decisions along the way.... and always, always, my projects have benefited immensely.
How do you go about "reality checking" your project ideas? Do you do it at all?
Oh and by the way, I've just switched my site from wordpress to squarespace. Even though I've always been a web designer and I support and use open source whenever I can ( i love wordpress), I feel time has come that I should be focusing on photography and writing, and nothing else. And this platform makes that entirely possible... no small feat to accomplish... kudos to them.
Happy New Year.
Here are some things:
This is some snow. This is "a little glow in the dark" at the presses. These are the first dummy tests for the "dislocate" books. This is a good whiskey (after having a few). This is some more work done on the "yakuza" solo exhibit in april. And these are flowers for my mother.
....and there's much more to come.
2013 is going to be a good year, I'm sure of it. For all of us... it has to be. My best wishes to each and every one of you... and see you soon.