We’re back in action! Plus, Emily Nathan’s debut edition
Big news art lovers: over two months after putting shipping and production on pause in accordance with Gov. Cuomo’s executive order, we’ve found a way to safely resume operations in a scaled-back form. Art is on its way! And we’ll be ready to get started on new orders immediately. Which means you can finally refresh your space with some museum-quality art prints + pieces. You’ve probably been spending a heckuva lot more time at home, maybe even engaged in some necessary nesting. Tackle those walls next! Get in on the mood-boosting benefits of mixing up your art.
Things are a running bit slower than usual while we navigate the new normal (peep our FAQ for our standard timelines, then add a couple days cushion), but you can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more precise shipping estimate. ‘Course we’ll be keeping our collectors posted if/when anything changes. You’ll also wanna bear in mind that all shipping carriers are experiencing pandemic-related delays these days. We can’t control those setbacks, but rest assured we’ll make sure you receive your art one way or another. (Huge thanks, as always, for your patience and support!)
But back to the fun stuff. We’re ringing in our grand re-opening with a new edition! Say hello to Evening Sun, the debut release from photographer and founder of Tiny Atlas Quarterly, Emily Nathan. There’s so much to love about this photo—the retro warmth of a classic diner, an early evening glow, a sheeny cloud of lemon meringue pie. The cinematic volume is on high! It is, in part, Nathan’s homage to the legendary American artist William Eggleston, often thought of as the guy who made the case for color photography as an art form. Like many examples of Eggleston’s work, Nathan’s photograph captures the magnetic magic of a seemingly mundane moment.
To dig deeper into the allure of Nathan’s image and its Egglestonian elements, we reached out to photographer, photo nerd, and former 20x200 production lead Carly Piersol. Read on!
— Team 20x200
When my uncle first started teaching me about photography, he imparted some advice that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “It is not a photographer’s job to make images of beautiful things. It is their job to take pictures of ordinary things and make them beautiful.” I was struck by those words again while looking at 20x200’s newest release, Evening Sun by Emily Nathan.
Upon a first glance, this might seem like a simple image. A diner table holds a red glass vase, napkin dispenser, and a slice of pie. We can see half a diner sign out the window and perhaps the top floor of a nearby house. And yet, all together, coupled with the gorgeous golden tones of the setting sun, Evening Sun gives us pause. What felt so important that Nathan wanted to document this moment? Why take a photo of such a non-event?
That’s where it is so fun to be a photographer. The more you shoot, the more you notice, and there is such joy in noticing. Not just passing by or glancing at, but really seeing something: the way the light hits a particular piece of glassware, the graphic shapes created by paint colors and parked cars, the humor in the contrasts between people and their surroundings. As a photographer, you learn to see the world around you in an entirely different light, and you also get to celebrate it. By taking a photograph, you monumentalize the “everyday extraordinary” as Nathan says in her bio. Even the simplest things—like a slice of lemon meringue pie in Evening Sun—demand and deserve your attention.
This delight in the real world around us shines through in Nathan’s work, as well as the groundbreaking images of the photographers who’ve inspired her. In her statement, Nathan mentions one such photographer: William Eggleston. Eggleston, referred to as the “godfather of color photography”, challenged convention. It’s wild to think of this now, in a world where we’re surrounded by Instagrams, phone cameras, and more, but when Eggleston began shooting in the 1960s, shooting in color was considered beneath serious fine art photographers. Color photography, the art world said as it looked down its nose, was for commercial prints or amateur snapshots. Eggleston proved them all wrong, ultimately reframing photography’s relationship to color images. He challenged photographers—and art viewers—to notice the world around them in all its beauty and ugliness and color, and to make beautiful images from it.
Similarly, Nathan challenges us here. Our world pulls us in what feels like a thousand different directions, our attention flying from one device to another. In making this photograph, Nathan encourages us to notice: sit still, have a bit of pie, and take in the Evening Sun.
About Our Guest Author
Carly Piersol first picked up a camera at twelve years old, when her uncle handed her an old 35mm and said, "Let's go on a walk". Ever since that moment, she has been captivated by the magic of photography: its ability to capture moments and create stories. She loves working with people who aren't normally in front of the camera, so if you've been holding out on getting a headshot, family portrait, or photo/video content, you can see her work at carlypiersol.com. If you just want to say hi, you can follow her on Instagram at @piersolphoto, and DM her for book recommendations at any time.