On a good day creativity feels like a trampoline, and on a bad day it feels like a fishnet that’s woven too loosely to catch any fish.
Standing on the cusp of a new idea or direction, I can easily become wound so tight about achieving a goal that I forget how to relax into the process of seeing.
In the summer issue of Aperture magazine I read a liberating article by Joel Smith, entitled Photographs of Nothing. In the past few months, I’ve been toying with different ways of seeing and shooting that are a total contraction to my norm. It’s a rocky road to juggle the two while abandoning neither. In an interesting way this article gave me permission to keep at it. Smith created a set of 5 guidelines for making photographs of nothing. This is guideline #2:
“Invent an aesthetic mode that is identifiably photographic, yet non-representational, abstract. Create a photograph that is not a photograph of by strategically outwitting (or, as a snapshooter, fortuitously, failing) the medium. Lose track of the horizon. Exclude the subject (for the camera, or the negative, and so on). Assign light a performative instead of an interpretive function. Leave us guessing.”