After the show

In Inspiration, Mobile
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Back in January, I hustled to pull an art show together at a local wine and cheese shop. I had two months to finalize a new series of photographs, edit images, make prints, order frames, create postcards and market the show, plus hang it. The lead up to March was completely crazy; we ate big pots of soup and bread while I spent countless hours in my digital darkroom. Somehow it all came together and the work went up on time. Then the artist’s reception happened followed by eight weeks when people saw what I had made.

Modern Landscape by Nikki Gardner

Then, snap, the show ended and we packed the frames back into a cardboard box and drove home. Now what?

I felt lost after the rush. Why am I doing this? Maybe I should start a new project or maybe I should quit altogether. I took a few days off to clear my head. I thought about why I make and show art. What does it all mean anyway? Am I adding anything new to the cultural landscape? It was clear I needed direction and fast.

Silence by Nikki Gardner

So I wrote down a list of 31 prompts, picked up my iPhone, and set out on a new photo adventure. The prompts center around storytelling (you can find the complete list here).  The basic guidelines I set for myself: capture a photo a day for a month, use a square frame, process in black and white, look for the narrative thread.

An empty room by Nikki Gardner

Think light, detail, environment, and visual tension. Back to the process again. To follow an idea and see what it evokes.

Parking lot at night by Nikki Gardner

To daily adventures with a camera in hand. Yours and ours.



  1. What a terrific way to get yourself to get back on that horse, Nikki!

  2. Great way to get back into the swing of things! I loved that parking lot shot when you first shared it on IG, so good 🙂

    • Holly, I love shooting black and white at night but rarely do. It’s good to have prompts to keep me on my toes! xo

    • Always the challenge to keep that steady rhythm despite the obstacles . . . 🙂

  3. I had my first showing last year and felt this same letdown afterwards. It was odd. I love how you jumped right back in!

  4. I love the phrase “cultural landscape” and your question about how (and why!) to contribute to it. I need prompts and am using your example as inspiration to get me shooting on a more regular basis.

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