For many artists, a passion to record a selected natural object – how it moves, or is moved by, light and circumstances – and to do so repeatedly, forms the substance of their practice. Consider Georgia O’Keeffe‘s flowers: “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” Claude Monet painted water lilies, haystacks and cathedral facades over and over, always looking deeper and seeing more profoundly. And how many times did Paul Cézanne return to paint his beloved Mont Sainte-Victoire? The high priestess of education in the creative arts, Corita Kent, would instruct her students to “Look at things until identity, value and description dissolve.”
This is my idea of devotion.
As I pondered this post introducing the work of Scott Morgan and his page at the artisans’ gallery, I was almost overwhelmed. Scott’s creative output is enormous, and it covers all manner of activity; he’s a creative director, designer, artist, writer, poet, photographer and film maker… What to choose as a sampler of his work? To my mind however, the thread that runs through all his projects – in addition to exquisitely clean, fresh design – is a sense of quiet awe and devotion. I finally decided to share photographic images he gathered by standing in the same place and simply recording what was showing up in that moment – and doing it again and again. Just like O’Keeffe, Monet and Cézanne.
Scott calls this project One Hundred Days and writes:
The basic premise of the project was simple: Photograph the exact same image; same spot, same angle, same camera, same lens, same proportion of water and sky, for one hundred days. Positioned on a hilltop 800 ft. above the water, facing due south, without the familiar sunrise or sunset poetry of east and west, create a series of images that record the elegant yet minimal transformation of the threshold between two worlds, sea and sky, and the focused ritual of doing it one hundred times over a two year period.
After being landlocked for almost seven years in New Mexico and Toronto, the One Hundred Days project was conceived as a process of my being reacquainted with the vast presence of the Pacific ocean and a return to the fundamental practice of seeing; slow down and be present. Document the process.
The images purposely contain no reference points. The elevated vantage point removes the waves and sand leaving the surface of the sea, which could be any large body of water. This strips the images of the specifics of place and sets them free to engage the viewer on many levels both real and imagined.
You can see more works from this series here.
At the artisans’ gallery: Scott Morgan – from silence to symphony
Images and quoted text copyright Scott Morgan.