I was recently enrolled in Sara Lando’s online photography course, The Support Group for Lazy Photographers. Though she has been teaching the course for many years, this was the first time that she offered it in English. I immediately signed up, excited at the thought of what she would compel me to create.
There were several reasons why I was excited to join the course. First off, Sara is an incredibly brilliant, perceptive human that manages to cut you and your work to the bone without crushing your spirit.
Secondly, her course is anonymous. Everyone uses fake names. This not only takes away the intimidation factor for new photographers and makes seasoned veterans rely solely on the work they submit rather than their reputation, but it also lets photographers venture out of their “brand” and make wholly different work.
Finally, her assignments are packed so full of restrictions that you are forced to be creative. Take this assignment, for example. Students were required to photograph a piece of white paper and present nine final images. They weren’t allowed to make origami or use props to carry the image. The focus was on the paper and, of course, light. We were tasked to create something out of nothing.
I decided to use Nigel Grierson’s 4AD photography as inspiration. The way he tells a story with abstract images of light and shadow is absolutely masterful. I cleared my schedule for the morning, turned on a This Mortal Coil record, grabbed a stack of white printer paper, and got to work.
For the execution, I laid out a sheet of glass over some saw horses, placed a light underneath, and began layering up sheets of paper to create different thicknesses of diffusion. I experimented with ripping paper, rotating it, and making landscapes. It was a morning of blissful exploration and I am as proud of these paper studies than of any of my portraits.