In 1977, one of my all time favorite directors, Andrei Tarkovsky, (Stalker, Solaris, Ivan’s Childhood, etc…) was given a Polaroid camera by his friend, the Italian director Michelangelo Antonini, and from that moment on Tarkovsky would take over a thousand pictures while on set, filling in the empty times between shots, or on scouting locations, and even set ups at home.




The goal for him was to keep creating, keep the flow flowing and as he put it, to use the polaroid to “stop time”. So much of what made Tarkovsky such a brilliant and exciting filmmaker for me, and as an ongoing influence compositionally, was his eye for composing space on the fly. A sort of on the spot instinct for how to show best framed in what had caught his eye or was his narrative purpose for the story he was telling.





As a loose but persistent rule in my work, I always try to find inspiration or perspective from resources outside of my medium or genre I’m working in. pushing through on a sci fi project? see how Mike Leigh filmed a scene in a living room, or look to Ansel Adams or even Nasa stock photos from Hubble and Webb. The least congruent resources can become the most fertile soil for finding a novel way out of a problem or a dead end. Creative sparks come from anywhere if you let yourself be open to them.





For me these pics, and the sort of casual way he approached them do what my own self-assigned projects are under the 52 Weeks Project banners: a place to experiment, capture something you hadn’t planned and then seeing if there’s depths to plumb. I find these sorts of discoveries always lead to new work or directions that excel beyond anything I’m doing or planning. The 52 Weeks thing has for me been a place never about anything but the impulse and play of making work, has become or led to directly some of the most cornerstone projects of my entire career. If there’s an argument for play as a legitimate enterprise, even professionally, it’s that.





For such a careful and planned out storyteller as Tarkovsky to use such a lowbrow medium, with all its unpredictable quirks, lighting and exposure goofs, struck me as a real encouragement. And let’s face it, they’re absolute breathtaking. So I hope this little weird slice of dark inspiration comes at the perfect time this holiday season. Thanks again for making another year of Muddy Colors such a magical place, and get out there and make some work- 2024 is coming fast.