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Eaten Alive

PART 1 

Hey all, a little background first.  I'm an American from Toledo/Cleveland/Pittsburgh and I've been living in Shanghai, working in Asia for the past 7 years.  I've been shooting for about 5 years now, and finally getting to the stage where I'm thinking in projects, not just snapshots/pretty pictures.  This is one of my first projects that I feel is based on a concept and I hope it feels cohesive and prompts viewers to generate their own ideas on the themes it explores.  Below is a writeup for the series that I had a writer help me with.  It's for use in a gallery setting and not written in the first person.  I'd love to hear any feedback about whatever's on your mind if you're willing to share.  Thanks!

"Eaten Alive is a representation of the alienation inherent in contemporary Chinese life. Whether in distinctive regional cultures, the worker’s collective or the familial unit, much of Chinese society is strongly rooted in groups. Challenging the strength and validity of these bonds, Broz presents images of individuals alone amongst the chaotic and crumbling landscape of Shanghai. Figures in doorways of desolate and decrepit buildings, single subjects walking through empty streets, isolated individuals in energetic environments; the subjects of Eaten Alive are often dwarfed by the monumental urban decay surrounding them. Having witnessed significant erosion of family and national values in the West, Broz asserts with this series that no individual–regardless of origin–is immune to the loneliness that accompanies linear time and social progress."

PART 2

I feel like I'm somewhere between Stage 2 and Stage 3.  I've gone through all of the gear lust (I'm a filmmaker and video engineer, so I've got the gear disease pretty bad) and spent the first few years shooting and getting in tune with what formats and focal lengths I like and work best with.  Then I spent the next couple years (that brings us up to the current time) trying to reverse engineer some projects by searching for recurring themes/topics/subjects from of the body of work I had amassed.  You can have a look at what that actually looks like at gsbroz.com if you're interested in what I mean.  I'm happy with that work from a technical perspective, but I want to go further in terms of conveying my ideas in a way that connects with the viewer.  Now I think I'm in the process of identifying what my 'issues' are, in other words, knowing what it is that I'm dealing with psychically speaking, and why it is that I seem to shoot the things I'm drawn to shoot.  I'm interested in isolation, being apart from vs. a part of, entropy, the visual manifestation of spiritual concepts, growing up/growing old, structure, man's inner sovereignty in the media age, universal law vs. the state, windy stuff like that.  Anyway, out of that 5 years of progression in my photographic process, I've determined that I do have certain things I need to express and that I live in exactly the right place (east Asia) to visually explore those themes.  In that regard, I feel like I'm in Stage 3, knowing what I need to express now and what I'm uniquely suited to explore based on inner and outer circumstances.  I struggle most with feeling like I've got a firm handle on Stage 2 though, that is, having premeditated subjects with which to explore the themes I want to examine in the traditional 'project' form that gallerists and art consumers seem to want to see things in.

3 action steps I plan to take to get a firmer hold on doing project based work:

-Look at the work of other artists (not just photographers) and read about their process, how they knead/massage/explore abstract concepts within a series of images or works.

-Investigate the 'project' concept with local/online gallerists and curators to get a better feel for the boundaries and guidelines in which they expect their artists to approach it.

-I'll keep shooting of course!  But now with a much more focused eye on things that fit the items on my project shopping list.  I want to get away from having to reverse engineer my concepts.  If I have ideas while I'm shooting, it'll be easier to explain my work after the print has been made and actually take full ownership of the words that are coming out of my mouth in defense of the work.

Thanks for the support, everyone!  Peace!

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