Oscar time is a good time to remind each other that rewards reflect work which resonates with enough people in the moment to reach acclaim but doesn’t necessarily mean the work will be recognized with the same esteem over time. Other works which were not seen by enough people or were lost in short-term hoopla may rise, first as ‘cult’ status and later recognized as masterpieces. And sometimes it’s politics alone. In 1999, the Motion Picture Academy overlooked ‘Saving Private Ryan’ for best picture and gave 13 nominations and the best picture award to a film called ‘Shakespeare In Love’. Anybody seen ‘Shakespeare In Love’ on any channel or streaming service lately? Go back 20 or 30 years and we routinely find films with far greater lasting impacts than the actual Oscar winners. And, if one thinks about it, this year marked the first time ever that a foreign language film, ‘Parasite’, won the best picture award. All the work of Fellini, Truffaut, Bergman, Kurosawa, that went unnoticed, or at best segregated into a category called ‘foreign language films’, where the greater public essentially ignored them.
But that’s how life works, actually. Our most important moments slip past us like a river, perhaps unrecognized in the moment. I find myself becoming more reflective as I age, remembering everyone I’ve loved who’ve simply floated past with the eddies and currents. And, juxtaposed, the people I could have been more charitable with whom I’ve now lost the chance to attend.
In my art, I’ve learned however much I may like or dislike a work at its creation, only time will tell if it was actually any good. That’s why I pretty much throw everything out there; to see what will stick. Give every impulse room to thrive.
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It’s that point in the calendar in which I’m mainly going back to last year’s photographic captures, looking for something to work with so I don’t have to face the grey, lifeless February of today. This capture, of a Missouri River overlook next to the Missouri Governor’s mansion, came out of several hours scouting through its adjacent historic district. And I think it’s the only one I’ve done anything with, raising issues of purpose vs. serendipity. But I’ll get to that in a few blogs …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.