Tabula Rasa is a collective and an annual journal that encourages photographers, stylists, and writers to examine fashion photography as art. They have recently released their third issue, titled “Numb.”
Who are involved in Tabula Rasa? Why did you decide to create it?
We (Sabrina, Estee, and Hunter) founded the publication, and our growing list of contributors per issue are involved as collaborators. As a group of artists and designers ourselves, Tabula Rasa grew out of a desire for a space that fosters a community of photographers, artists, stylists, and writers to be completely free in their self-expression. The only guideline we give our contributors is to interpret a new theme we provide each year.
How has Tabula Rasa evolved after 3 issues?
Parts of Tabula Rasa have very much stayed the same, such as our mission and the creative energy we feel when approaching a new theme with a new set of collaborators, and parts of it have definitely evolved over the 3 years of working on it. Aside from freedom in self-expression, we also encourage our contributors to explore fashion photography as art — rather than thinking of fashion from a commercial perspective, we want clothes to serve more as a tool for storytelling. Our first issue was the experiment — our collaborators revealed the most vulnerable and vivid parts of them while interpreting the theme ‘Identity’. For our team, this issue was bold and uninhibited as we were establishing our identity as a new publication. From the first issue, we started to organize exhibitions and collaborations outside of the physical publication to exist more as a platform as we wanted to exist in additional mediums. The second issue’s theme of ‘Fixation’ was a natural progression from the first, since a person’s fixations can be revealing and part of their identity. The ‘Numb’ issue completes the trilogy, and was shown amongst a selection of art and design publications at Hong Kong Art Basel this past March.
Why did you decide on “Numb” as a theme for the third issue of Tabula Rasa?
Since we are an annual publication, we have the luxury of time to inform the themes we choose. It’s really important to us that the theme reflects how we are feeling at that current moment, or the topics most relevant to us. We came to the theme of ‘Numb’ very organically and much like how we do with all the others — through a conversation. We started discussing everything from the political climate to how fast and consuming photography has become, and we all felt a bit numb to it all. So we thought, how would our contributors address the theme of ‘Numb’ using the exact medium that we are so inundated with. That question made us curious, and the general rule of thumb is that if we all feel excited by a theme and can see ourselves coming up with ideas for our own personal interpretation, then we run with it.
“Numb” features works by Adam Kremer, Boru O’Brien O’Connell, Brian William Green, Carolyne Loreé Teston, Charles Caesar, Clément Pascal, Danielle Ezzo, Eli Schmidt, Ian Baguskas, Keisuke Otobe, Peter Funch, Ryan James Caruthers, Sam Rock, and Sergiy Barchuk.