Both / And

Cacti & Flowers (Apr 2018)
Cacti & Flowers (April 2018)

We are led to believe that we live in an Either/Or world. We split life into binary qualities: Black or White, Male or Female, Gay or Straight, Individual or Collective, Rich or Poor, Religious or Secular. Based on our feelings about those qualities, we are labeled: Liberal or Conservative, Capitalist or Socialist, Believer or Infidel, Us or Them, Good or Evil.

Our world is filled with and defined by these dichotomies. But what if this dualism is flawed?

Modern physics has revealed that, at the most basic level, things are innately capable of exhibiting both individual particle and collective wave qualities. Any perceived difference is due only to how an entity is observed. In the quantum world, it’s not a matter of Either/Or; it’s a matter of Both/And.

Some high school students in Texas and Upstate New York paint artwork on their assigned parking spaces. In one sense, the results are wonderful examples of individual creativity. But they don’t exist by themselves. Other nearby spaces, as well as the place and time in which they were painted, shape our perception of this art.

With these images I am exploring how both the individual parking space art and its context coalesce to create a distinct, holistic reality. Viewing them offers us an opportunity to explore a Both/And approach to seeing our world.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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I was walking across the Joshua High School parking lot in November, 2017, when I noticed paintings on some of the student parking spaces. They were something I’d never seen before; parking spaces as canvases for folk art. Cool! Judging by an Internet search they were something of a novelty; the only locations I found information for were West Orange High School in Florida and James Bowie High School in Texas. Since then I’ve found them at a number of other high schools in the general Fort Worth area, as well as in the New York Capital District. Looking at the Joshua artwork back then, I knew I’d want to photograph them.

Joshua High School parking lot, from Google Maps satellite view.

In addition to my photography, I have a website called Quantum Age that has been online since 1996. It offers a framework for applying ideas from modern science to today’s world. “Both/And” is the first instance in which my photography has found a direct connection with that website.

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2023; all rights reserved.

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