Lindsey Calla is an artist and photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work captures the harmony and essence of place with a refined eye for organic qualities that evoke a sense of connection to the cycles and beauty of nature. Her deep interest in mythology, ancient ideals of harmony and balance, and the simple, subtle energies of the earth all synergize to create a fingerprint of the landscape. Her work is encouraged to be contemplative, inviting meditation on abstract principles, forms and colors.
A: New Mexico has become the thread binding my work and inspiration together. If you stay long enough, like the desert itself, you'll be stripped down to your simplest form. It erodes away what isn't necessary and makes things clear without being known. That erosion is essentially creation. My latest fine art series, Empire of Dirt, is a visual interpretation of the striations of desert rock in abstract form so it's very tied to the high desert here and the beauty of the colors in the geography. There's always an element of earth in my work, whether that's adobe clay on the wall behind me or the desert rock itself.
Q: YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS LOOK LIKE PAINTINGS, CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU ACHIEVE THIS?
A: This is my highest compliment! Many women in my family history were artists, mainly through painting, so this is my way of communing with those ties but also merging it with the medium that I've been working with for over a decade, which is photography. Capturing the essence of place in an abstract form is most important, and that comes through using a long exposure technique with my camera as the brush. Just like using a brush on canvas, there is a dynamic movement to the capture and almost a harmonious, other-worldly connection when I achieve perfect bands of color across the print.
Q: WHAT STORY ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL THROUGH YOUR WORK?
A: I feel that something ancient beckons us when we walk through the pigmented canyons of the American West. The light has a transcendental quality, almost holy, as the land serves as a palimpsest. As the wind weathers the rocks we see erosion not as degradation, but as recreation. In this meditation on organic simplicity, I found harmony both in my work and in myself. It's a visual reminder that the only material things left behind when we leave are organic materials suspended in the land itself. We must live surrounded by earth to feel connected to it and we must remember that our souls are also prone to weathering. To continue to recreate ourselves when faced with adverse winds is one of the oldest human stories that we continue to live out. The abstract nature of the pieces also allow the viewer to dream and contemplate as they desire.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF PHOTOGRAPHY? ANY NOTES ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU?
A: Photography is the visual equivalent of poetry to me. It's a process of bringing to life what lives in the dreamtime realm of our imaginations and communicating it through a lens that is an extension of our physical eye. There's an invisible string that connects that moment of spontaneous inspiration to a unique interpretation of our physical realm and how we view it and communicate it. When you view a photo, you are essentially experiencing how someone else interprets reality. The creative process to me means communing with the subtle energies of the muses who bring down creative ideas as gifts, but we receive them only if we do our work by getting focused and quiet enough to summon them. There's a very direct exchange; it's a harmony of tensions. When we create we strike a very beautiful balance between vision and execution.