What “Do” I Want to Say?

I’ve taken some time away recently to get through classes and do some deeper soul-searching. It’s so amazing how we change as we get older. We evolve. As people, humans, animals, individuals and partners or groups alike. It’s a scientific fact that we, as a species, and all life evolves over time as experience and consequence shape what it is physically. That’s a truly amazing thing in and of itself, of which I could probably devout a lifetimes in trying to firmly understand and recognize it.

This is where my mind was going this evening as I sat down to reflect after a night of work. I’ve been experiencing a lot of inner changes lately on many fronts, and I have felt rather exhausted and overwhelmed. Things never happen slowly for me, its normally in one great heap (as it is with many of us). These changes…the evolution…has been really, really hard. But also really good. Scarey sometimes. Paralyzing at others. I could name every range of emotion I think. School work takes a lot out of me creatively (which now causes me to begin to see a pattern!… that’s for another post). Part of change is learning something new, and that includes epiphanies.

I began to ponder my “voice” in photography. I agonized over this all semester. What was I trying to say? I had no idea and still don’t for the most part. Perhaps I stumbled upon my hang up tonight. And if so, it is so freeing. So much so, I think I will continue with my Masters. I’ve come this far, why quit now? I suppose I could say that my ego has been in the way, all these years, no matter if I was painting, drawing or now photographing. (I sometimes wonder how many professional photographers groan every time they read about another new photographer. Man, in a world as competitive as it is right now? You’d better be dam sure you are speaking with a loud enough voice, or your never going to be heard, or seen…and if that happens, then whats the point? I think that’s what it truly means to be a professional or a hobbyist. Now I am truly asking myself these very questions.. Will I be a Professional or will I be a hobbyist?

All along, I’ve been asking the wrong question. (notice how the word “quest” is in question? Seek the answer) I’ve been asking: What do I want to say? I should instead have been asking all along: What do I want to say? Instead of focusing on the “Do” part, the content of the work…I keep focusing on the “I” part, the ego that makes everything personal and difficult. Maybe that’s what all the guru’s mean when they say let the ego go. Let go of “I”. Focus on “do”. When you are doing, you are happening right now. You are in the moment and completely involved in the present. Don’t get me wrong, everything you are “doing” is still personal, its still about who you are and how you see the world, but it still involves “I”, its just not the focus. I have struggled to understand this concept for many years. To finally understand, and to make it a part of myself…I feel as if I have evolved, shed an old skin, with the old self and emerging with a new skin. I will be vulnerable as I take some time to process this and put it into practice…. but isn’t that that point? Being strong enough to be vulnerable so we can learn and embrace our life lessons, and in doing so, moving forward to something even greater than we could have ever imaged……

Thats what my voice tells me. And somehow, I will make that come across in my future art work, no matter the medium I am working in. I realize how very stale much of my past work, both traditional and photographs, has been. I’ve been so protective of myself, so afraid to use my ‘voice” that I’ve been in the same creative rut for along time.

Now that I know the correct question to ask, I hope I can shed past and present insecurities and more forward with a powerful voice that is unique to only me.

My voice is my own.

Its time to learn to use it!

https://www.youtube.com/v/4qDoRedKBoU?version=3&hl=en_US

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My own studio *le sigh*

I fully enjoyed working on these photos and I can’t wait to work on the rest. Even though I am half crippled at the moment, I took over 800 shots, in probably 9 differant lighting arrangements before getting what I really liked. I was incrediably grateful to my assisstants, even though some of them ran off early, as young ones often do. Thats alright.

I so enjoyed getting up close and personal with my horses. Naturally, I already “know” them all, and thier personalities. But this was so much differant. More intimate. In a controlled setting, but I allowed enough freedom for the horses to react on thier own. It was up to me to be able to see those moments when the perfect light, and the perfect reflection, and the perfect body position and the perfect expression converge into one moment in time. And when I would see those near perfect moments, I would often gasp. Oh! Thats Beautiful! I would exclaim. Not to anyone in the room, but to myself. I forget that there are others there, helping me out. Something happens though, when I step behind that lens. At this point, I can’t tell you what it is, but I do know I enter a differant world and all else falls away outside of my subject and myself.

There were alot of techincal/set type of frustrations though, such as the backdrop not being completely smooth (which didn’t matter in the end) or big enough to cover the small area I had to work with. My lights, reflectors and diffusers work well enough for now, but I would love to play with some gels at some point. And just having more room to move.

Yes, I would like to have a studio. Big enough for a large horse, but in a manner that I could use it for dancing also if I wished. I already see in my mind how I would like my lighting and backdrops to be setup, safely.

Yes, this is where I see myself going in the next 5 years.

Spiritus Equus

One of my classes this semester isĀ  “color and light”. I was really excited to take this class, as I felt this is an area I needed work on. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that most of my 3D modeling knowledge comes into play, in the way that light and color works off various objects. But I digress…

My final project for this class is a body of work revolving around my miniature horses. I will be creating the set in that I will have them in a stall with a backdrop (firmly placed) and artificially light the area making use of a 3 point lighting set up, with the third specular light to be either above or below the horse. (note to self, draw out lighting grid) What I hope to accomplish is an ethereal feeling, that the horse you are seeing in the photograph is from another world or plane of existence. I will find out this weekend if I am going to be successful or not, and decide how to adjust if I am not.

Looking through various paintings, drawings and photographs; searching for inspiration, I am suddenly made to realize that horses have been a part of mans evolution since the beginning of time. These noble creatures, perhaps more than any other, without question will trust us if we prove ourselves worthy. There is something so magical and divine about these animals, that it defies definition. All we can do, as artists, is attempt to show the viewer what we see when we gaze up these fae creatures. That is the key to my project, and any piece I photograph, regardless of subject….being aware, and lucky, enough to capture that glimpse of emotion, that instant when all their true thoughts are revealed on their expressions.

Appreciation for the Rules

I didn’t realize how easily i sailed through undergraduate school until I started on my graduate studies. But its more than that. I am truly having a deep appreciation for the things we are being taught. Everyone has those moments when they feel like their work is fine as it is, and doesn’t need improvement. Or maybe we just get lazy, or complacent, or any other number of excuses. I know I have had many thoughts to the effect of “my works good enough, I’m not going to study this stuff”….Until I find a photograph that I truly admire. Such as tonight, I was admiring a gorgeous photo of some azalea flowers. I just kind of let go and let myself fall into the photo. Pretty soon my appreciation deepened as I began to notice many of this things I have been learning, as well as a good deal of things I already knew from 3D modeling. How cool is that? I at times feared my game design degree would be worthless….

Having this realization that just knowing the rules of design sub-consciously will only increase the effectiveness of my own photos. I can still shoot the same way I always have; meaning the style and subject matter that I have tended to employ through minimalism and use of equivocal spaces. What a great relief this realization is. I still have no idea what I am going to do for my finals, but at least I can go in knowing that it will be true to who I am. And I have got to get my astrology project off the ground. I feel like that is going to be a vital step in moving forward from where I am now.