seen from the road

Hi. Happy Friday.

Welcome to Tennessee

When David and I were on the road crossing states and landscapes so familiar to my childhood days, I held my camera out the car window in an attempt to document every imaginable angle of the trip. As the landscape rushed by, I remembered a visiting photography instructor I met in graduate school. She applied for a teaching job at the University and as part of the application process, she presented her work to everyone in the MFA photography department. Her work spoke to such concepts as the dissolution of time and of photography.

gas station (outside Nashville, TN)

At the time, she worked long hours and had a long commute into Los Angeles. Her camera lay dormant for weeks. Then one morning, during a commute, she photographed the streak of cars next to her. A brilliant blur of colored lights blended like paint. She shot in the evening and days and weeks and months after that. She made mural size color prints. Her photographs rendered horizontal light blurs reminiscent of Gerhard Richter’s abstract expressionist paintings.

TN bw near Gatlinburg431 72 dpi

As often as I’ve thought about her work and the talk she gave, I still can’t remember her name.

dog walk (downtown Nashville, TN)

To her, the importance of making the photographs came first. Unraveling their significance, meaning, and place in contemporary art speak, came second. It is the same with writing. With that ever present shitty first draft (as Anne Lamott extols). I admired her for turning her camera toward the banal. A busy daily commute in traffic.

outside Nashville, TN

For finding a glimmer of truth in how we rush to get to the next place. This is where she stayed. Compressed in time. She repeated the process twice a day. Through such repetition and inquiry, a long term project evolved. That’s what I want to share with you.

Nashville, TN

Write it. Photograph it. Do whatever you do.

seen from the car (Memphis, TN)


man walking (downtown Nashville, TN)


  1. says

    Wonderful! I heartily agree. Love your photos, and your words. By coincidence, I did the same thing on our long road trip last week. I took more shots out the car window than I ever have in my life before, seeking motion and movement. It was fascinating.

  2. Radina says

    Dear Nikki,

    Your blog is always such an inspiration, and I especially love this post. My mom is a writer and photographer and she takes the same approach – even if you feel you have no time to create, just grab your camera or your notebook and do something, anything, and don’t stop. Thank you for sharing your stories and your photos, and for pushing yourself – and your readers – to never stop creating!


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