Cover photo
John L. Kerr
Works at The Ulander Project
Lives in Southern California
In a recent interview I stumbled over a question about self doubts. I had been asked if I had them when it came to my work. "Who doesn't?", I was about to say when I remembered two of my friends who say they don't. More's the pity, it seems to me, since a healthy sense of insecurity can help motivate that most difficult component of creative work: Reworking. I would not describe myself as a creator of images as quickly as I would call myself a re-image maker. The sudden tingle or extended ripples of excitement that accompany the creation of a new image, like passions of the physical sort, when past cannot provide any of the motivation or momentum needed to critically examine and correct that initial image. If inspiration is what moves you to create, certainly it is attention to detail and the discipline of patience that can render your creative efforts into something worthy of the spirit that caused them to be made physical in the first place. Even as an audience to each other's work, it seems to me, we need keep our aesthetic skills honed. We must continue to educate ourselves in areas of appreciation and work to find ways to better describe our experience of the efforts of others. Certainly this is the more mundane and less enthralling side of the creative pull we feel. Nonetheless, in my experience, it is the refinement of our creations that make them quantitatively different from the effusive, endearing but ultimately forgettable works by gifted people who lack or don't wish to develop the tools to make more worthwhile what they have already made. There is a place for all manner of creative work and I certainly am not judging the level any person strives to reach. It is when I hear the remarks from people whose philosophy involves the "like-it-or-lump-it" reaction to feedback mixed with the "I'm not appreciated or recognized as the true artist I am" disclaimer that I find myself hoping I don't find myself in such a dubious stance. I'd rather just not talk about my work, not share it or respond to questions about it than act as if I had the Answers and could speak Knowingly about the creative process about which I know so very little but value so greatly. I have made these notes in the Occupation Field of my profile. As a Life's work, self examination is a difficult job ( 7 days a week usually, no medical) but the benefits more than compensate for the lack of colleagues and the impermanent work place. It is a job I don't relish, but I work at it as much as I can. I can't say my performance reviews are exemplary, but they are consistent in recognizing my efforts to stay on task. I'm not due for a raise, true, but I have found in the last year at least, there seems to be less major excavating and demolition needed and more and more fine tuning and polishing of the mostly completed piece of work that I call "me". Thanks to all of you who have offered your insights and observations, both of my works and my attempts at self awareness. Intertwined as they are, it seems neither could exist without the other and your recognition of this helps in the struggle to integrate them...( and not just in the throes of creation, but in the day to day world of rewrites, deletions and edits--truly it is so rare to be able to do any of these things in life. The First Time is so often the Only Time for most of our efforts. What pleasure and opportunity in the chance to Do Over. It is not just a job. It is a vocation. Don't you think? I have to stop writing now, read this and start editing.
I am pleased to say that after only 50 years of trying, I can now fold a bottom sheet neatly. Otherwise, I seem quite skilled at living outside the lines.
  • The Ulander Project
    I completed editing three films exploring the works of Igor Stravinsky on the 100th anniversary of the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps". My photographic images continue to represented by a dear friend and candid critic so when they do sell, I feel quite pleased and satisfied at their worth., present
    In freelancing as an independent short film maker, I have learned that the career I had in the non-profit world has paid off. " Non profit" doesn't just apply to the financial status of a social service agency or philanthropic organization but also describes the financial status of those who staff them as well. The lack of regular or competitive income that is a consistent reality in the not-for-profit workplace is offset for many by other less tangible or bankable rewards. Having lived and worked in that persistently uncertain financial environment was ideal Basic Training for the position of Late-Blooming Creative Soul (LBCS); a position I applied for and for which I was accepted without actually reading the entire job description. It's the non profit gig all over again. That rather uncertain position, (LBCS) I was allowed to fill had few immediate gratifications and a heavy load of self doubts to be inventoried and filed every day. Nonetheless, I have had all of my second and third thoughts offset by the amazing thrills I got (and still get) when I find that a piece of mine has been sold. Bit by bit, experiments became techniques is the best way I can describe my progress. The images I make are finding an audience. Who would have guessed? Who'd imagine how thankful and amazed I would be and still remain today? Hosting this site is the smallest possible way I have of saying "thank you" for all that has been allowed me. You are one of those I thank. Whether we have met yet or not is incidental to my knowing on a very essential level that you are present, for which I am grateful. I also know that the creative works of all those who fill these pages will nurture, challenge and inspire you. Just as they have for me.
  • American Red Cross, Los Angeles Free Clinic, Braille Institute, Chrysalis Counseling Center, Orange County Museum of Art
    L.A. Sex Information Helpline, Elwyn of CA, Peace Corps, VISTA Board Member of Steppingstone and Sojourn Programs
Basic Information
Other names
Reserved, Intrepid, Teachable, Selfish, Generous, Critical, Enthusiastic, Intuitive, Physical, Dilettante
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Southern California
Tustin CA - Newport Beach CA - Washington DC - Los Angeles CA - Sudan, Africa - Paris, France - Spokane WA - Costa Mesa CA - Long Beach CA