Deep In The Shed
A couple of years ago, in one of the inevitable dips in the flow of work, I decided to tackle an idea that had lain dormant for a while. Some of my biggest heroes in photography seemed to almost effortlessly straddle—and blur— the line between “fine art” and “commercial” definitions of their work. This still strikes me as both a noble pursuit as well as a misguided need to pin labels, and due to that I have maintained a strong interest in how other artists go about their craft. And so that dormant idea, photographing artists at their most absorbed creative moment, was ready to tackle.
Deep in the Shed is the name of a 1990 album by Marcus Roberts—a stellar piano player who is a protégé of Wynton Marsalis—and is also the title of my series. As a phrase that references how jazz musicians get lost in the pursuit of that perfect riff or that moment when they are truly in the flow, I realized that same moment of clarity can occur in most artistic endeavors and that I wanted to try to capture it in 1/15th of a second. Though in its early stages—featuring so far a group of artists here in DC who are also friends—and especially through the slog of waiting out the pandemic, I have been feeling the inexorable pull of wanting to continue to expand this body of work.
My nascent series photographing artists is an homage to jazz practitioners everywhere and can hopefully serve as a way to capture the almost uncapturable as my subjects try to thread the needle of creativity. – Max Hirshfeld