Friday, August 10, 2012

A Good Problem To Have...

The Naked Man Project has suddenly grown exponentially beyond what I had ever imagined. This morning when I called a client back about scheduling a headshot for the beginning of next week he informed me that my Cyr Photo website was not working, and he could not get directions to the studio location, he mentioned there was some sort of J loop error and he could not access it. I took down his email address so I could send him directions and jumped on the site, it was indeed not accessible. I then jumped on The Naked Man Project site and saw the same messages. I then tried to log onto the server and it too was no longer accessible. I immediately sent an email to Julian to see if there was some sort of server malfunction. Indeed there was! It turns out The Naked Man Project was having so much traffic that it blew out the server causing disruption to all the sites on the server. Once Julian had stabilized it and began to figure out what was going on, he shot me an email that I have created a monster that is no longer containable with the equipment we currently have. It is time to either abandon the project or take it to a new level.

Oddly enough I had almost abandon the project and because I had not worked on it in months. After devoting an entire year to the project, I had somehow felt it didn’t really take off, and that it was perhaps just a narcissistic lark I had chosen to pursue. My life seems to be filled with abandon larks that never take off. I did manage to complete the year, satisfied but exhausted. Some of the models I had worked with were requesting that I remove them from the site or change their names because they didn’t like the notoriety and how popular the site had become because of being able to search their names on the Internet. Though they had signed model releases and initially agreed I respected their privacy and adhered to their wishes. In a sense it was just a bit much for a place like little old Missoula Montana, after all we are all a part of very small community. It disheartened and broke my pride a bit to have committed so some time, energy and determination into a project that not many, well within my community, seem to appreciate. I began to questions if I had crossed the boundaries of social and ethical morals, of exploiting those who had trusted me with their greatest intimacy. You see most of the models were from my community, mostly Montana, nobody has ever been paid, including myself in the creation of the project. It was all born out of passion and the desire for the exploration of the process. Last January the site had outgrown the original server and we had to upgrade. When we did the migration to the new server issues began to arise and my energy was consumed with how to maintain the site. What was supposed to become a self contained entity suddenly began to eat all my energy because of my inexperience and lack of knowledge with how the Internet works pushing me further away from the creation of art and what brought me to the work from the beginning. There was also suddenly a lack of interest of subjects to be photographed. What was happening? I begun to realize most everyone was intimidated by me and my little art adventure. At this point I decided it was time to lay it to rest for a bit and put my focus elsewhere, give it some distance. My boss at UPS called me into her office one day and said close the door, and in a whisper she said I saw your sight, and looked around as if we were doing something naughty said it was very good. She seemed quite impressed, though it was only appropriate to mention in a whisper. The origins of the horse whisperer had begun in Montana, had I now created the n____ man whisperer? It then dawned on me as I began to realize the ambivalence I was feeling from other people toward the project was more of a hushed appreciation.

It’s been churning in the back of my mind for some time now to get back to the project. But now it beckons me. After an intense afternoon of franticly trying to figure out what to do; we have decided to put the site into a maintenance mode so we can restructure and organize it to keep up with the influx of traffic. The real kicker is I was completely oblivious. I had no idea and was astonished when Julian began to tell me the numbers that were coming off the site. It is now time to dig deep and decided what is really important. Consider what is it I really want out of the project? Is it worth a new investment? So here I am wide awake in the middle of the night sitting in the middle of my empty studio, naked, trying to come to terms with this monster I have somehow created.

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