Magic Camera / by Amanda Gentry

A few weeks ago my good friend and photographer, Mark Smalling, came to my studio for what has become an annual photo shoot cataloging the work from the year before. I had not been creating in the studio for close to two months. Spring and summer had me actively creating my share of a kiln load that was fired in late September. And all of the work was completed for the firing, having not left a piece in process to call me back into the studio. (Note to self: ALWAYS leave a piece in process.) As any artist knows, time away from the work can mess with one's head. At least it does for this artist. I start to doubt myself: whether I have any good ideas, whether I have ever had any good ideas, whether what I've already created is any good. Clearly these thoughts are highly unmotivational—they multiply like evil rabbits in my head, making it increasingly difficult to call myself back to my clay. But all of that myopic thinking magically lifts when Mark starts to shoot the work. The dark cloud of doubt lifts when I see the work staring back at me from the objective lens of his camera. While I am most grateful for the documentation of the work and the considered attention that Mark brings to it, I am more grateful for what it does for my spirit, calling me back to make more and reminding me that what I have already made is pretty damn good.

Thank you, Mark.

To see Mark's work, visit his website at: