Week 15: Rebirth

Can you believe it?!  I’m all caught up on this challenge!  Who’d a thunk that while amidst the planning of finals and and completing projects that this would be the time I caught up, but here I am.  And I couldn’t be happier to be caught up with a different theme or photo.

Rebirth.  It can mean so many different things in so many different contexts.  It’s a word that has had a particular significance to me over the past two years, so I’m always happy to do some work surrounding this theme.  And even better, it coincided with a project that I was competing for class.  You know I love it when I can hit two birds with one stone!

The project that we had for class surrounded the idea of “constructed reality”, or tableau photography — creating a scene, world, scenario which does not occur naturally, but in a strange way, could possibly happen.  Playing with the border between truth and fiction.  That’s the best explanation I can give for this, because honestly, I had a terrible time thinking of something to do for this project.  The examples my professor gave the class were vast, which was equally helpful and harmful.  Just as I thought I was getting a grasp on what he was asking for, a whole other group of artists would come up which were completely different, and I would be thrown off again.  Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate the broad overview of example artists he shows us — they have amazing work.  Some of my favorites, which you should go check out, were Duane Michaels, David Hockney, and (this one’s a little creepy) Joel-Peter Witkin.  Three very different styles, three very different conceptual minds, and three equally awesome artists.  So, in wanting to emulate all of them, and not sure how one single idea could encompass that and the parameters of the assignment, I was stuck.

The night before I had to bring in “progress”, I still had nothing.  All day during my classes I was trying to think of something to do for the next day.  I had a bunch of ideas, but nothing feasible this short notice.  Ah, the blight of wanting models in my photographs.  So I dug a little deeper, and this idea came to me, finally.  It was actually something that I had thought of during one of my film photography classes, but for some reason, filed it away in my “will probably never happen” group of photography ideas.  I’m really glad I decided to drudge it up and give it a try.

This whole idea started when I first returned back to school, and was debating leaving my old job and finding something that would actually make me happy.  I wish I could say it was at one of my hardest times, and that things got better from there, but I’m just now starting the incline again.  Even then, however, I would dream about how great life could be, and what it would feel like to let all the stress and drama of my then current life behind.  Flowers and nature have always seemed like a great avenue for me to express a lot of complex ideas, and this project made good use of that.  In correlation with this feeling of wanting a new life, and now revisiting it from a perspective of “rebirth”, along with having gone through some major changes, I wanted to be able to express both the pain and beauty in changes simultaneously.

Although it may be a little unsettling to look at, I really am in love with the result I achieved.  I needed something visceral, raw, an essentially disgusting, to really describe how difficult things have been.  On the other hand, I was dreaming of a new, beautiful life, and since then, have made large strides to work towards it, and wanted an element which would exemplify that sentiment as well.  I chose to place the wound (which was incredibly, surprisingly, easy to make) on my wrist.  I think location is meaningful in itself, as many associate this type of wound with self-harm, and in a sense, living the life I was living was doing exactly that, killing me.  The flower that I chose, Star of Bethlehem, though possessing religious connotations which I didn’t not directly relate to this project, represents all of the things that I imagine this new life, or rebirth, will bring.  Hope, for a better life.  Forgiveness, to myself for not doing this sooner.  Honesty, to stay true to myself.  Innocence and Purity, for all the good, new things, untainted by my previous life.

I love it, and I’m even more excited to keep working on this type of imagery.  I’ll be extending this work for my final, so maybe you’ll see a little more of this soon, ya know, if this doesn’t gross you out too much 😉

rebirth

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Springing in to a Fresh Start

April showers bring May flowers!

Well, we may have been missing out on an abundance of April showers, but we’re getting a sneak preview of what the May flowers are going to be!  Thankfully, it appears that winter has taken its last bitter breath, and we are finally in the midst of spring.  A new season, a new beginning, and a fresh start for lots of little flowers, plants, and creatures.  Oh yes…creatures.  Luckily, the only “creatures” I encountered this week were the pleasant ones; tons of chirping birds, my normal encounters with my roommates (aka – the ladybug infestation), and tons of little bees buzzing around as I was out and about today.  I’m glad I decided to keep it simple this week.  We had great weather, and it was nice enjoying the outdoors and taking some photos of the flowers and budding blossoms.  Though I didn’t get to explore much of the outdoors, snapping these flower photos inspired me to (hopefully) get out to the cherry blossoms which are in “peak bloom” in D.C.  Seems like even though I’m so close by, I’m always missing them.  I might have to make the effort and get out there this week, particularly since the business task for this week is a “personal shoot”, meaning to basically just shoot whatever you want, and I’ve been wanting to do this for years!  Enjoy the pics, and perhaps this won’t be the last you’re seeing of the spring blossoms:)

Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawn.

-Lewis Grizzard

Week 14: Fresh Start

The sun will come out tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a new day!  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Fresh starts are what I’m all about these days!  Besides the fact of making a new start in going back to school and leaving my banking career, I’ve recently been faced with a ton of other decisions, which once made, will be a whole other fresh start. Maybe I’ll be starting a new job, definitely will be going to a new school, and may be making a huge move, geographically speaking.  Starting over can be scary, nerve-wracking, intimidating, and all kinds of negative things that would make some stray away from giving it a try.  Or, they could be exciting, up lifting, motivating, and all the things you ever wanted.  I’m hoping for the later, though I feel a lot of the former when faced with decisions that have me changing everything.  I think most of the fear that comes with change comes from the unknowns and the “what ifs” of life.  Once you have that all figured out (easier said than done), then the “fresh start” can be a really great thing — you just have to work to get there.  So this week, maybe I’ll take a more simple approach.  With everything seeming so big and complicated in my life right now, my brain has been on overload, and it would be a welcomed change.  Besides, spring is finally all around me, and there are so many wonderful natural things that are making a fresh start of their own.  It would be great to get out there and take some pictures of them.

So I’ll leave you with one of the best “fresh starts” I’ve ever seen.  Waking up extremely early while on vacation to catch the sunrise definitely has its benefits, especially while you’re at the beach.  I’ve always loved these photos.  The clouds were in a way that you don’t often see at sunrise, and with the surf bubbling up, it made me feel like I couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began.  Can’t wait to get back there.  Love you, beach.

Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.

-Rae Smith