Contributions / by greg brophy

 A stack of carbon test prints

A stack of carbon test prints

I have spent a over a year learning carbon printing without one good print that I would be willing to hang. I have spent a considerable amount of money learning this process. The same goes for Platinum/Palladium printing. I have stacks of paper and material that will never see the light of day. Why am I doing this, and sometimes I feel like quitting. It's easy to label myself as a failure, or a fraud. Something many artist can relate to. Instead, I tell myself I am making a contribution. With every failed print I make, it is a contribution to my knowledge, a large one at that. Hopefully it will be a contribution to the world at large when I am done. By thinking this way I allow myself to fail and understand that with failure sometimes comes our greatest breakthroughs. I ask myself, instead of did I win or lose or what I have accomplished, what did I contribute today. I stopped trying to live up to other peoples standards. Since teaching myself carbon printing I have learned determination and patience. I will keep testing until I get the results I am looking for rather than rushing it and wonder why it's not working the way it's supposed to.   

 Failed carbon tissue

Failed carbon tissue

I think here in America we have such a fear of failure that it controls us more than the creative process. If we forgive ourselves for mistakes and failures even before they happen, only then can we truly be ourselves and create something special. If I worry too much about what other people think, it will cause me to self edit before it is done. I have reprinted this series so many times based on what other people have said and found myself back at where I was originally and should have stayed with my gut feeling.

 Side view of wet carbon print

Side view of wet carbon print

 A image close to being done

A image close to being done

People often ask why I do it, why do you take photos or when are you going to exhibit (sell, show or create a book)? My answer is that I am done with large institutions like galleries and museums. I don't do it for them. I do it for the small interactions I have with people who love the images. The people I get to meet while shooting it. Being able to share what I know with other passionate people. The small rewards of getting the work made to honor the people who once stood in front of my camera and the wrecking ball of big institutions.

ComingDown.jpg