Empty Canvases

 empty setWe’ve all been there…a blank page, a new house, a hunk of wood… an empty canvas. That’s where I was about 22 words ago. Looking at the words “Add New Post” –  looking all nice and intimidating in extra large, black, italicized, seriffed letters at the top of this page – wondering what I should say and hang out there on the interweb for all to see. This is todays empty canvas. As photographers, we face that every time we step into the studio or onto a set. It’s empty. No lights, no props, no subject – no life. It’s up to us to set up stands, turn on lights, modify them, sculpt them, introduce objects and/or people for the light to bounce off, create life, tell a story, convey an emotion and, ultimately – make a photograph… click.

It’s quite intimidating. That first brush stroke, shutter click, key stroke, wood shaving, piece of furniture… whatever. The point is we all, at some point or other have to take that first step to creating something from nothing. Let’s back track… I took illustration in college many many years ago, and every sketchbook I own from back then has one thing in common. An empty first page. Another student asked once, “…why’s your first page always blank?”. I said something to the effect of, “It takes the pressure off of the first impression” (I thought I was quite deep and insightful back then). Actually, it was that bit of trepidation over screwing up at the beginning that kept the first pages blank. I’d considered leaving the standard “Hello World” post on this blog for that very reason, but I’ve learned, over the years, that a blank first page does not always a good first impression make. So I figured, what better topic to explore as a first blog post than making that first stroke on an empty canvas. Am I the only one that smells a metaphor here?

This blog… this business (ShutterUP Studios), even “professional” photography is a blank canvas for me. Something to put a piece of myself into and work at until it becomes something I can be proud to hang on my wall (or something that I take into the back yard and set aflame (I’ve actually done that once… or twice)). So far it’s been a roller coaster of anticipation and I’m loving it. We, my business partner, photographer, Andrew Rehage and I, are making our first stroke on this particular canvas (sick of the metaphor yet?), and hoping that the end result will be as well received as we envision it to be. We’re creating something. As for this blog, here we will document our future endeavours, share our successes, what we’ve learned from our mistakes, peppered with a healthy dose of general ranting and rambling, all for your reading pleasure. If you gain any meaningful or helpful insight out of it, GREAT! That would make our day. But even if you are just mildly entertained and/or amused we would like that too. Ultimately when you leave your first mark and put it out there for everyone to look at, it’s to share some of yourself with others and hopefully gain some insight in return. Even if it’s just the knowledge that you made someone laugh.

So there you have it. The first page. Done. The only question is, what goes on the next page?

Until next time…




  1. Very cool site. I love its simplicity. Your art shines through uncluttered. As for the first blog, as a writer I understand the blank first page. It happens sometimes when the right words can’t come to even start a sentence – writer’s block it’s called. Keep up the good work – you guys rock!

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