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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Turning my vacation into my vocation

a new day dawning

a new day dawning

You never know where you’re going to hear something that really strikes you.  I surely wasn’t expecting the technician out on a maintenance call at my old job to say something that would stick with me.  We were in a room about the size of a closet, silent, as he was busy working on an ATM…..a pretty common, and expectedly awkward, setting in my day-to-day.

It was just a matter of time before he struck up the normal conversation:  How are you?  Busy today?  These things always act up….and so on.  Eventually we got to talking about other things we were working on, and I shared that I had recently enrolled in school to pursue a photography degree (it’s an generalized art degree, I’ll be real with ya, but I like to say photography degree  because, well, that’s what I want it to be….eventually!).

This seemed to catch his interest, and as he asked me about it, I started with my normal laundry lists of doubts.  I don’t know what will really come of this.  I’ve always really loved photography, but have been afraid to share my art.  What kind of job, really, am I going to get with this degree?  My family is going to think I’m crazy.  He got where I was coming from, but still pressed on, asking what I liked to shoot.  I told him mostly the beach — I love the beach — but also some more abstract things, abandoned buildings and places.

And then he said it.  “So, you’re going to change your vacation to your vocation!”  It’s a silly thing really, but I guess it was the first time that I thought that I might, just possibly, be able to do something for a living that I would consider a vacation.  After all, I had invested the last (at that time) eight years of my life in this banking career which I was beginning to realize wasn’t taking me anywhere, and more importantly, wasn’t making me happy.

So, here I am.  Not at that bank anymore, after over 10 years, entering in to my last semester to get my associates degree, and starting over.  This last year has been a struggle, to say the least, but I’m determined to make something better for myself.

I’m gonna have a vacation vocation.  Pack your bags, cause here we go.