Thirteen images began this series.
Lamps, bulbs, signs, and brokenness, all to challenge aesthetics. A self-portrait, a tool to speak about how no matter what life has given you, you can still move forward and make something beautiful.
It started with the concept of stills. Seven-inch square prints mounted onto HardiBoard, symbolizing these are fixed moments that are a permanent part of the fabric (construction) of being.
I chose my subject as light because-what is photography? Photography is painting with light, and if light is the tool – then why not make it the subject - without it we cannot see, likewise without our experiences – without my experiences, I am not me!
Presenting this initial concept brought many questions to be asked, but I think the most pressing was a statement followed by a question. “These are nice… but how will you take it to the next level?”
The Next Level? What even is that? Isn’t photography a means to document a memory? Isn’t Photography a tool to assist in presenting ideology? Isn’t Photography… Wait — a tool.
Photography is indeed a tool. But a tool for what? If not to print, then what else? How can a tool be used for something other than what it was intended? You don’t use a hammer as a screwdriver or an oven as a cooler. One can be used to compliment the other, but never to replace So where do you move from the still?
He said “I see grids. Grids on grids.”
What does this even mean, “Grids on grids”? I mean, I’ve taken photos where the scaffolding is sitting in front of another grid like structure. I’ve made composites from the grid like patterns of the see-through window tint showing a water fountain behind that. Composites. Stacking imagery – that’s where I’ll begin.
Blending and transparencies; how can I take these images from this series and create something more. The “Duck Tracks” was easy. I had noticed how the sky was so similar to the water was in two images. The blending just happened, little details here and there – nothing large. But for my image, “PsyTrain” it was a bit more challenging. A sharp focus fading towards the blurred distance, the overlay onto an obscured and moving-light background. I decided to not blend it, but instead I cutout the train. Both of the images from that series – in fact all of them – were uniquely composited. But this. Can I keep just doing the same thing and not grow?
Is the objective really a still image? Does a photo need to stand alone? While the obvious answer is “yes”, I think there is more. Just as there is more than just this moment. It is everything from the past; those building blocks which created the now. Immovable and permanent. But, they do change, perspective is insane. When you first experience something you are seeing and experiencing from a single point – a point from right where you are. There is no other point. In reflection, you can look closer and get input from others to build on what you initially saw. The event didn’t change – your perspective did.
The building blocks of my life are perspective points I can go to and see where I came from. They are fixed moments. They are pivotal moments. They are not stagnated moments, they move but remain.
In recovery, I discovered how perception effects change. I found that before recovery I would recant the moments I felt were monumental achievements – see how cool I was. Then perspective happened, a shift. The event did not change, it still lingered. But no longer was it a bragging point. It became clear this was a point of brokenness and despair. What it did not become was hidden. Instead, it became a – it didn’t become something different, it still was – but it became a presentation of how broken I had become. I was able to present the same image in a different light. Light, it’s still there. Without it we cannot see.
The lamps, and bulbs, and signs both broken and beautiful exist now. They are a representation of what life can be. What life is, what life was. There is movement and nothing is really ever still.