— Jenny Neill

Free, A Shift in Context

I am often far more ambitious about what can get done in a day than what is actually possible. When my husband and I caught up with each other about our mutual progress on a joint venture, neither had done what we had expected to. Yes, it’s only Monday and already both of us were feeling behind on our respective goals.

Free Stamp

Photo courtesy of Frank Gumola.

Starting a new project together always presents challenges. What is the central idea we will run with? Is there one? Do our visions for it match up? For how long will we need to muck about in the messy phase of finding the “bones of the work” before it starts to take shape? Each time we work through these periods of creative anguish, either apart or together, I’m reminded that they are 100% necessary to producing meaningful work. But that doesn’t make the angsting any easier.

One angle I toyed with took me on a tangent that led from Seattle to Cleveland while investigating the lives and works of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Much of their collaborative work intentionally played with context by taking a soon-to-be-obsolete object and bringing it to life once again in a new setting and at a much larger scale. Sometimes, as was the case for their Free Stamp, having to change the site exposes new meaning even to the scuplture’s creators.

And so, as I push away from the computer to make dinner, I hope to return with a new understanding of this photo essay feature. Because as much as I’m held captive to too many angles on it, I’m free to change my point of view.