Shutter the Thought

I’m the kind of guy who lets things fall where they may. Strangely, these random arrangements seem to have a natural symmetry and composition that pleases the eye. Whenever I’m  bored I’ll start looking for patterns. Acting on auto-pilot, I pick up the camera and capture the clutter. Snap, snap, snap. The familiar quickly becomes foreign when framed. Found objects. Perhaps it’s a just a holdover from my surrealist youth—an obsessive romp around the playground designed to keep boredom away. But why bother analyzing it, dispel the illusion and spoil the fun?

I’ll open the images in Lightroom and often find inspiration among the objects. Symbols rise to the surface like shark fins. I discover potential layouts… ripe for repurposing and transferral to other sets of objects and things. Type;  color; shapes. Call it the cult of category where strange relationships reign.

Clut lust.

Imaginary grid lines appear before me.  Sometimes I’ll make a sketch that looks like a crude treasure map. Or I trace the image in Photoshop and make it the foundation for a new design.

Or maybe I hit the delete key.

Frequently my clut-shots contain books or magazines since I’m constantly reading and leaving them all over. When I write a book review for this blog I often use these photos, as I like to show a book in its natural state as a possession rather than just a  photo of the cover. An image of a book momentarily abandoned, tossed on a bed, stained and dog-eared, or set atop a pile of others not only situates it in time, but gives it life. After all, a  book is more than mere matter

Shelf-shots interest me too… a cropped collection of spines, whether organized or not, clustered, leaning, interacting with others. Obscure titles and titles teasingly obscured. Organization meets clutter.

This activity is not unlike finding faces in nature, a favorite childhood pursuit. It was re-awakened in me circa 1980 when Kerig Pope—then the art director at Playboy—gave me a gift—a wonderful book called Natural Likeness: Faces and Figures in Nature by John F. Michell (Dutton: 1979).

I post this entry hoping someone will find this pursuit useful when no suitable subject is at hand. At the very least it’s a personal record, a visual diary.  

An artist should never be bored.