Above, top to bottom: 1st, 2nd, 3rd iterations of proposed wall arrangement of images for FFF Gallery, Frankfurt, part of RAY2018, May-September 2018.
Minor White once said that sequencing photographs for book or exhibition was like being in the middle of a storm. He considered the simile not as a metaphor for chaos but for power, manifestation of purpose and direction. I believe he photographed without letting his intellect come in the way. Then, at the moment when he felt a “storm was brewing” begin to pull images into arrangements that, in their sum, expressed far more than any one component.
When I read his descriptions of this type of creative process, years ago in the 1970s, I felt that a path had been opened to me: one that was a side-line, an alternative, an escape, a shunt which would help me avoid what has dominated art-making and thinking since the 1950s. Concept, idea, and intellect are vital components of the creative endeavor. But they are just that, parts of, and within, a process whose overall purpose is to clarify, distill, remind and recreate. If what is within tries to define from without, poof. Work collapses. It can’t be done. Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem (I cannot pretend to understand it, but the implications seem clear): a process cannot completely know itself in terms of itself.
So it was that White would surround himself with prints he felt were going to eventually form a sequence. Possibly quite literally creating a storm of leaves around him. Letting the images form the sequence, letting the primacy of the photographic expression reveal a larger expression in terms of the poetic, containing places for the mind to poke and play, rest and reveal. But also leaving plenty of room for more than concept, idea and intellect.
I am in the middle of selecting from, and re-sequencing, about 150 photographs from The Third Heaven for an upcoming exhibition at the Frankfurt Foto Forum. And Minor White’s storm is brewing. Above are three iterations of my plans for the exhibition. Almost there.