Sometimes Pure Light
Welcome Sometimes Pure Light, a capsule podcast series exploring creative life and calling. Through personal monologue, discussion with friends and interviews with generous and talented creatives, Sometimes Pure Light explores the compulsion to create.
What are the stakes of making art? I’m interested in the seed of a person’s work: the blueprint that steers them toward themes that dominate their work. I’m interested in the spark of insight that transforms obscurity to meaning. Pain to wisdom. Judgment to compassion. Shrapnel to art. From altogether dark to sometimes pure light.
This podcast gets its name from my favorite Rumi poem, which sums up my philosophy on life and art:
The human shape is a ghost
Made of distractions and pain
Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel
Trying wildly to open this image
held tightly within itself.
INTRODUCTION: THE SEED OF THE WORK
I once heard Maurice Sendak, illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are say that for him, "the needle is stuck in childhood." Me too, Maurice. The themes in our work revolve magnetically around the themes of childhood. My impulse to photograph families comes from a seed that until now was felt but unintelligible to me. Prompted by an exercise in the Teethkiss Workshop by Anna Palmer, in this episode I follow this question around the room of my childhood home: What is the seed of the work?
EPISODE 01: SLOW CREATIVITY AND A DEFENSE OF PERFECTION
In this episode I ask does “better done than perfect” apply to art? Also how many photographs do you make per year that you’re deeply satisfied with? And how perfection plays a central and healthy role in my creative life.
EPISODE 02: ART VS. DOCUMENTING AND THE PURSUIT OF THE PROJECT
When I get behind the lens of my camera it’s for one of three reasons: to document daily life, to capture a symbol that is meaningful to me or to contribute to an ongoing project. I like when these overlap, I like when they don’t. Instead of exploring theoretical differences, I discuss how I subjectively approach these different forms in practical terms as a photographer.
EPISODE 03: MY CREATIVE COMMANDMENTS
Thou Shalt Actually Enjoy What Thou Doest and other things I’ve learned, been taught and discovered so far. These rules make my creative life not only possible but flourish. Do you center joy your creative process? Things changed for me when I made that my highest end. Also I was told once to work for the work and I finally realized who to answer to. I also learned how to measure success (spoiler: not by number of followers) and how to leverage that wonderful college tool called a syllabus. These creative commandments were my game-changers toward a fulfilling creative life.
EPISODE 04: WORKING FROM INTENT
Real. Posed. Fake. Authentic. Candid. Contrived. Us photographers use these words. It’s on our minds. In this episode I explore the meteoric shift in my work from documenting what was before me to becoming proactively hands-on with my subjects. I love capturing life as it is and I love influencing it to my creative end. Is it possible to pledge allegiance to both?