Monthly Archives: May 2015

Terrible Vision

In an effort to break away from my norm, (i.e. blue flowers and self-portraits) I began going through some older work from my Leaving Home Behind series. It is a photo essay that takes place at Evergreen Village, a trailer park out in Sycamore, IL. This trailer park has existed along the Kishwaukee River for several decades. However, being so close to the river has caused severe flooding issues over the years. I began photographing it a few years ago. At first I was just drawn to its aesthetic, I quickly learned that this place was in the process of a FEMA buyout and soon all the residents would be relocated and this place would be bulldozed to the ground. I spent many Sundays there, getting to know the residents and the details of the architecture. Unfortunately, this place is no more. The time has finally come to put this work to bed… It will eventually become a park for other residents of Sycamore to enjoy. It once was home to many people who did not want to move, despite all the trouble they had.

This image was shot intentionally out of focus. It was always intended to be shown as an abstract, the in focus image is part of my series. I title it Terrible Vision because of the visual obstruction that is created. Like driving into the sunset, looking through a dirty windshield. However, the metaphor is powerful and can be applied to many aspects of life. So often we get caught up in our own frame of thinking, and for whatever reason, are unable to see beyond two inches in front of our own nose. As I write, I am reminded of the Fiona Apple song, Window. She sings, ” I was staring out the window… It was a filthy pane of glass. I couldn’t get a clear view… It wasn’t the outside world I could see, just the filthy pain I was looking through.”

I find these lyrics to be so powerful. So often I have been in her shoes. She later sings, “I had to break the window. It was in my way.” There is an old Buddhist proverb that sates:

It is only when the fire scorches us

That we truly begin to awaken

So, when your view is so obstructed by whatever pain you may be feeling. Feel it, move though it and kick the wall down.

Patti Smith once said, “When you hit a wall, just kick it in.” I find so much truth in that.

 

Terrible Vision

 

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Blue Flower Plate II

There is something about Queen Anne’s Lace that draws me. This being the second image of the flower I have posted here, (See Blue Flower), I have to say it is probably one of my favorite “weeds” or wild flowers or better yet, “wild weeds”. It is an extremely invasive plant on a lot of levels, so most avid gardeners consider it a weed. I find it to be gorgeous, so delicate looking. The roots at early stages are in fact edible, but will turn bitter quite fast.

I don’t really know a whole lot about it other than, it is not native to this area, it was brought over during European settlement. However, with my attempt to maintain the connection to my self-portrait work… It is the aspect of lace that I want to talk about. So soft and so delicate, yet sturdy and stronger then it appears. I plan on incorporating some lace into my encaustic work very soon. Collage it, wear it, drape it over myself… I like the aesthetic lace gives off. The design and texture speak to me. It also lends itself very well to encaustic work.

Furthermore, there is something about Queen Anne’s Lace that resonates strongly with me. I see myself in this wild and carefree species of plant life. Delicate, yet strong, wild and attractive, soft and bitter all at the same time. I am a soul that dances along the wind and ends up exactly where I’m supposed to be right when I need to. I would not want to live any other way.

 

Blue Flower Plate II

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Burning Bush at the End of Summer

I don’t have a lot to say about this image, other then it was taken at the studio where my partner and I made rag paper and cyanotypes last year. I believe this image was shot at the tail end of summer. The crimson and purple complement one another so well, with just the right amount of yellow peaking through the background. I always thought the leaf in which is the point of focus, looked like a star.

Red is the color of extremes. It’s the color of passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger, and adventure. Our prehistoric ancestors saw red as the color of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces – and most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past.

Red is also a magical and religious color. It symbolized super-human heroism to the Greeks and is the color of the Christian crucifixion. Red was almost as rare and as expensive as purple in ancient days – a fact that may explain its magic and power. Paradoxically, today’s intense red dyes come from crushed insects (the lac beetle and the cochineal).

I enjoy color theory quite a bit, I have an impeccable eye for color within my work as well. The human eye is really something incredible. I’ll edit a photo one day and think the color balance is spot on and walk away, yet when I revisit the same image in a day or so, it”l have lets say, a yellow cast. No one person perceives to same hue of any color when looking through different sets of eyes… So our perception of the world we see is like a dream, but only the brain is awake. Therefore, there is a frame around that perception. This disappears when we are sleeping cause the brain lacks that structure. There are no boundaries, no constrictions. i find it very fascinating.

Burning Bush at the End of Summer

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Spider Plant and I

In an attempt to shed some light into my blog and break away from the serious nature of the representation of my self-portraits, I felt the need to revisit my Impossible Series images. It has been quite some time since I posted one. I chose the spider plant image due to the reference I made about the Black Widow spider in my last post. My brain makes weird connections, I know this. I figured it would give me the chance to talk about my plans for presentation for this work. It will eventually end up in a a handmade photo book, mounted on handmade 100% cotton rag paper. And, since most of my Impossible Series is of plant matter, there will be plant matter in the paper I make. I will then scan it and make it available in zine format, both digitally and for sale in hard copy. My partner and I are planning on making some paper real soon. We need a new mould and deckle first… When that occurs I will probably be sharing some of that process with you as well. Making paper is truly a beautiful process.

I have managed to keep this spider plant alive for over ten years. I got it at a garage sale eleven years ago. This isn’t really saying that much, considering that spider plants are extremely resilient. It takes a lot to kill them. There is a parallel between myself and my spider plant. I have not had the easiest life, yet have managed to survive every trial and tribulation that has been in my way. It has made me stronger, wiser and overall a better human being. I have no regrets, for what I have been through has shaped the person I am today. In fact, I am extremely grateful. I have a greater appreciation for people in my life and the moments we make together because of it all.

Another thing I adore about the spider plant is the fact that they produce babies. They sprout tiny spider plants that can be cut off and transplanted into pots and given away to people, if you so wish. So not only is it resilient, it is also giving. Most plants are, but spider plants are extremely easy to transplant. And, sharing is caring as my kindergarden teacher taught me.

Spider Plant

 

 

 

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My Chastity Belt

When I first began taking my self-portraits last summer, I had every intention on making each one severely out of focus, then I thought, where is the skill in that?! (however it is quite a bit harder than it looks in maintaining consistency) This image, was one of the early ones. I call it, My Chastity Belt simply because it appears to be quite the opposite. A woman bound by sexual desire, dripping with the sweat from her own body and perhaps someone else’s, both beautiful and disgusting. A work of art and a mechanism. Sex for fun and sex to make life. Again, duality is in everything.

I began thinking about sex in general and what it actually means. Sex, like the human form is both beautiful and grotesque in and of itself. I mean, we’ve all done it, we know the sounds, fluids, grunts and whatever else it makes. For me personally, I always think of the Black Widow spider or the Preying Mantis during sexual encounters. I am often reminded that sex is the closest we can get to another person without actually consuming them, unlike the aforementioned species. I think that is beautiful. I also fully get why both the Black Widow and Preying Mantis consume their mate.

But then I began thinking of women who rely on sex day to day, specifically prostitutes or porn stars. I realized that in some cases sex itself is the chastity belt. If you become so bound by a sexual lifestyle, is there room left to enjoy it? Or is it another chore like most things in life, once they become trite and mundane? This image represents sex as the chastity belt. Being overly sexed, forced to have sex, reliant on sex… It sounds exhausting. Don’t you agree?

My Chastity Belt

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