A couple of months ago, I watched Moulin Rouge for the 57th time, because I stumbled across a discussion somewhere on the internets about the cinematography and art design of the film; it’s a movie I love desperately and have always thought was lovely from an aesthetic point of view, but I’d never really considered the actual details of that aesthetic before. Then shep. and I watched it again on Thanksgiving, and I was struck again by just how stunning an achievement design of that caliber and scope really is. Whether or not you like it as a movie, or even as an aesthetic — the scope of the project was huge, and it’s perfectly executed to the last detail, and that’s worth considering as art, if nothing else.
It’s the same as when I was having my Tim Burton shift back in the fall. It isn’t my aesthetic, but it is an aesthetic, an artistic view considered and committed to, and that’s worthy.
In addition to my utterly useless BA in English, I have a slightly less useless BA in Theater — specifically, I have a BA in Theatrical Technical Design. Sets and props, mostly; I lack the patience and skill for costume design, and I’m utterly petrified of heights so light design was right out if it meant I had to hang my own rigs (I can break down the specs and details of most light hangs, but ladders and catwalks? No thank you.). And for a brief minute toward the end of my college career, I considered getting an MFA in scenic design and moving to Los Angeles to try and make a career of set dressing or art directing in Hollywood. That plan fell by the wayside when I actually visited Los Angeles and realized the entire city made me want to kill myself (sorry, Thea! I am glad someone loves your city, but it is not me; that place made me crazier than anywhere else I’ve ever been), but the idea of it. The idea of it wasn’t a bad idea, really.
I am trying to learn to love promo photography for bands. I’ve discussed my dislike for it repeatedly here, as well as my attempts to make peace with it. (I like to look at it, I just don’t want to do it.) But I am still working towards an enjoyment of it, and I think making my peace with the idea of band photographer (for smaller bands with little money) as art director is a place to start. I tell bands that I’m neither their mom nor their art director; they need to be able to make decisions and committments and stick to them for me to work with them. But — maybe I shouldn’t shy away from that art direction. I have training in it, or at least background and skills that could be put to use in that way. I’ll never be able to work with a blank slate, but ideas. Ideas I can maybe start to do.
And maybe that’ll get me to a place where promo photography doesn’t make me so frustrated and left feeling unsatisfied and annoyed.
Lani was kind enough to buy me Who Shot Rock and Roll for Christmas, and I plan to spend some good time with it this weekend. Other people’s aesthetics, don’t you know.