The "Studies" projects

The "Studies" projects:

Studies 1994-2000
The Garage Series 1999-2000
Studies II : Monk's Quirky Music 1994-2000
Studies III: Color Photographs 2006 - June 2013
Still Life: Homage to Morandi Studies IV 2013
The Creative Process Studies V 2014
The Space Between Color and Black&white Studies VI 2014
Babysitting Photographs Studies VII May 2016
Studies 8 : Sufism 2016 Signs, Veils, The Symbolic Photograph

In recent recent years I have returned for renewed inspiration and refreshment to one of my earlier, favorite projects, entitled Studies 1994-2000. The six enjoyable years I devoted to this project was the longest time I have ever spent on a single photography project. I didn't know at the time how the work I was doing then were "preparation" for large works yet to come. Clearly, the miniature Studies photographs (snapshot size--3.5" x 3.5") had their own visual integrity, despite their size. It was the Studies photographs that led to the idea for two important sets of Visual poems : Visual Poems for the Departing Landscape, and the second set, Visual Poems for Triadic Memories.

The early Studies photographs were inspired by short "miniature" piano pieces or etudes. The images have a magical power for me . . . perhaps because of their small size. The images inspired me to make more; they encourged an enthusiasm for invention and spontaneity; I always felt excited me and refreshed about my attitude toward picture-making when I was making the Studies.

Since the 1994-2000 project, many other Studies projects 
(seven thus far) have followed, as listed above. The work in the more recent projects share in the same qualities of the earliest Studies photographs: they all represent a quirky, intuitive, direct, spontaneous approach to picture-making.

I have characterized the Studies photographs as "quirky," "little," "brief," "seeing pictures" of cryptic or unknowable conception, intention, and meaning.

The images represent a spontaneous disregard for a tightly defined and disciplined approach to picture-making. They do not try to consciously hold tight to specific thematic ideas or a particular subject matter.  

The little square pictures are often cropped versions of the longer 35mm format. This permission to crop an image gave freedom to shoot fast and decide later what to include in the frame and what to take out.

I have found that when I am making Studies photographs I open myself as wide as possible to the guiding spirit of my creative process; I enjoy a feeling of freedom--a feeling that is quite unique to the studies projects--that allows me to simply receive the grace-filled pictures which seem to come to me of their own volition.

The process of making these photographs allows me to watch in surprise and amazement at what happens when I give myself over to a creative power greater than my intellect or mind. I enthusiastically encourage you to view this work in the same spirit with which it was created.

The later Studies projects are transitional projects. They were made after "An Imaginary Book," and as I look back on the way they fit into my creative process I can see that they served as preparation for the intensely focused, larger multi-chaptered "sacred art" projects that followed, such as The Angels, The Photograph as ICON, and Photography and Yoga.

I must also add, finally, that my Homage projects qualify as Studies projects. The Steve Lacy project, and the Angels project, which is an Homage to Paul Klee is as much a Studies project as is the Morandi Still Life project, and the Robert Ryan "Surface Veils" project.

I should also note here that The Garage Series (1999-2000), the second project listed above, has not been given a Studies project designation; I always considered it part of the first Studies project (1994-2000). The Garage Series is also part of my Homage to Morton Feldman.

All these ways of organizing work can lead to overlapping confusion. But my Creative Process does not appear to be concerned with order. Rather it is concerned with what is essential, what is necessary for my growth as an artist, person and soul.