Patricija StepanovicUntitled from Skin series (2011)

As far as creativity goes, I feel as if there’s the person who is unflappably driven. Who sets out in one direction and plows ahead without looking back. The instinct motivating such single-mindedness doesn’t necessarily make someone a good image maker. But it does seem to improve the odds.

Stepanovic is decidedly not one of those single-minded obsessives. She’s more a chameleon–shifting styles and genres on a dime. (The only consistent facet of her work seems to be her favoring the milky texture that comes from soft-focus and underexposure.

I won’t go as far as to say I dislike her work–there’s only a handful of folks whose work I’ll openly call out as bad–but it’s largely uneven, obviously derivative (ex. Stepanovic | Arcila) and maybe even a little sad.

I say sad because the above image was one of her earlier efforts. It demonstrates an eye that although not strong has a certain precociousness for the tenuousness of an ephemeral moment. It’s also extremely creative. Usually blinds like these–besides being annoying–are employed towards a more film noir reminiscent end. This tosses the usual playbook and instead uses them as an innovative backdrop. (This same creativity manifests in much of the rest of the work, only more often than not it skews towards executing something that’s already been done and the result achieves strikingly less effect the the original.)

I’m not interested in self-conscious homage to artistic heroes. But I am interested in Stepanovic’s personal vision. The few times it slips through it outshines the rest of the work like the midday sun next to a candle. Thus, I know it’s in there somewhere. It’s just not all that present in the work. And that’s a crying shame.

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