It would be easy to start with a wishy washy description of this work, touching on the mysterious nature of bit part stories that never quite complete themselves. The clever visual pairings that are used throughout Skylar Blum’s series Sole, are prominent in the series. The set of pictures are clearly set up for a book and with no description on the artist site, I am left to my own creative devices to take on another meaning, a meaning I can own completely, using only the clues left by the photographer.
Firstly, the title; it is a whimsical combination of letters. This makes me think differently about the pictures. And much like the beautiful flow of the work, I get the feeling I am observing from above without anyone aware of my presence. It is a complete mystery. I talk quite a lot about the use of mystery in modern photographic series and how they seem to talk around something, be it an idea or a subject; we are left with our own devices most of the time. This has become a very popular trend, especially by the younger generation of photographers reaping the benefits from up to date courses relevant in today’s photographic education.
The work is like a blank sheet of paper. And this is a compliment in every sense. We can begin viewing this series from the middle or the end or even end at the beginning. There is no script or official route through the images – you can freestyle if you want to.
To transcend into description, blank wooden panels are made up of different shapes and sizes, looking to cover something, anything. They are just there. There is something so exciting about this. The aesthetic does not care for what rules had been put in place before. They do whatever they want – minus the angsty tattoo of rebellion.
It is important to discuss why the work is the way it is and where this trend came from. It sparked from over prescribed methods of story telling, ran over and over and over until it lost all creative flair. For me, at least, it is a wake up call after the great storytellers – the black and white school of photography. It says no to being sensible but finds its own path, a more exciting path. What is most interesting is none of it is entirely clear, but that doesn’t matter in this scenario. Skylar plays with what narrative has evolved into not what it should be He lands it perfectly like the kind of combination Tony Hawk would be proud of. It is effortlessly good.
I wonder why it resonates with me. Perhaps it is new and looks to challenge instead of follow. A disregard for the rules, in this scenario breaks a mold that had begun to crack earlier on. It takes on very graphic points of interest as the pictures are not silent but they make onomatopoeic sounds. It seems like a polished work in progress and instead of walking sideways, it is marching forward. It is at times hard to see the kind of work that looks to challenge however the work steams through a lot of the other artists, but does not want to appear barbaric in this process. It is like a parting of the water, without the religious connotations.
It is all down to the creative whit of the artist who seems to live his own life and pictures come as a result. It has created a positive storm in my head, but I think this is why the series works. It just sets off explosions and we are left a little disorientated as a result.
Written by Alexander Norton / Published 7 November 2014