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March's Mind of the Artist: Jason Jaffery

March 1, 2020

“I want to be considered a jazz poet blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam session on Sunday.”—Jack Kerouac

My art practice started 32 years ago, when I studied film and photography at New York University. In the years since then, I’ve worked to silence the 150,000 critics in my head that try to censor me, and instead respond to the impulse to record the things I see that I find beautiful.

Photography is a wonderful way to do that, and more. It’s a way to eliminate the canyon between “subject” and “observer,” to erase the outline between myself and the world around me. To unite, collaborate. There’s often a beautiful sadness to discover in people in the real world, especially when they’re not on their phones.

Lately I’ve been expanding beyond photography to involve other mediums and elements in my work—drawing, collage, readymades.

It’s been exciting to move from a focus on narrative (from my film school days) to the boundless ambiguity of images combined with each other, or presented on their own, to stand naked before the viewer, who projects onto it or receives from it the story they make up. In that way, the collaboration continues.