Layers

The self and the ego

Who I am

Who I was

Who I will be

where I am

Where I was

Where I am going

The self and the ego are entwined by memory and illusion. The memory of who you think you used to be, the memory of who you want to be. The illusion of who you used to be is based on the memories you hold onto, which are a mix of pop culture, photographs and stories people tell. The person you project is often the illusion of the person you wish to be. But it’s not usually the same person when you peel away all influences, layer after layer. The core. The self.

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Shifting Perspectives

The more I shoot new work, the less I like my old work. Something about a feeling I get from this that I didn’t ever get with my previous versions of Duality.

This was taken at an old bordello from the 1800’s. It’s a beautiful building and it’s about to go through some big changes. You or I may not even recognize it later. Times change, it’s either get torn down or evolve. I like evolving, makes me feel like I am on the right path. 😉

Duality (Part Three)

Duality is a fine art, self portrait series, about identity, my path to self awareness. Initially created out of the need to express internal conflicts, it has developed into a work dedicated to the interpersonal passage of becoming whole. My desire to produce images that represent this stage of the project, the present, has lead me to make changes while retaining the significance of it’s original intent.

I use photography to help me maintain my personal balance. Self portraits are a way to document and gauge my progress and share it with my viewers. Making art gives me a drive to grow and create, all the while providing stability in my mind. The evolution of the project mirrors the evolution of my self, from manic depression to a stable center.

My process captures real emotions, when I am aware of my present state of mind. I use these significant moments as a foundation for my photographs. I write down my feelings and any related ideas into my journal. While I am processing the reactions I am having, I start to produce my scenarios and shoot my images before the mood flees. By capturing these images in the moment, I am actively working through my consciousness and understanding their value.

The use of film represents the raw nature of the human psyche and the use of double exposures allows me to illustrate the division and re-merging of the ego with the self.  Each image emphasizes a present mental state, not always unified, sometimes unbalanced. As I learn to be conscious of my inner self, this work can be a mindful role model for those whom struggle with their own imbalances.

 

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Art Making

I’ve been making more art these days. I have always enjoyed the hands on process. Finally I’m falling into my own niche with my photography. I used to think I wanted to be a commercial photographer, but in reality, that ship has sailed. Perhaps later in my career when I am a little more developed. For now, the photograph serves as a means to make art.

I decided to allow my creative process to develop on it’s own, stop forcing myself to do things I don’t really care for. Since I love to build things with my hands, I have been using mix media and collage work to share my inner workings, what I find beautiful. I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and one thing is leading to another, no need to look up and try to figure out where I am.

In college, we called this the creative spiral. Every so often I would look into it, but never really dove in head first. Maybe dangled my legs over occasionally. Worried about landing on my feet. I have come to learn, it’s easier to just let go. After all, it is what it is. And it’s much easier this way.

Right now I’ve become enamored with this translucent pearly gold. I’ve always enjoyed gold leafing, but now I am playing with different mediums. The layering over a deep crimson red has pushed me down a different path, somewhere I’ve not been before. It’s rather intoxicating. The way the gold shimmers, the pearl plays on the refraction of light… bouncing around in the depth of the medium. It’s a beautiful thing up close.

All of these iridescent colors mixed with golds remind me of the Art Deco movement,  luxurious colors and materials, modern clean lines. I have always loved this era, the rebellion that came right before it. Pulling away from the garish, over stated highly ornamental designs of the past. Simplifying and reforming the perception of splendor and opulence.

Here’s something I’m working on, something that makes me smile and inspires me to continue my course in this sumptuous direction. It is reminiscent of religious art, the gold and as Ashley staed, the downward gaze. It really is a encouraging piece. It makes me impatient for my supplies to come in. Ahhh, but the wait is good for me. It’s a little torturing but gives me time to put my thoughts together.

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Things Are Sweeter When They Are Lost

“Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know–because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand.”

~The Beautiful & The Damned; F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m sure we’ve all lost something we wanted so badly, to our own painful downfall. Whether it was a lover or a friendship, it hurts as deeply as you loved it. Sometimes I think I’ll never get over these things, times in my life. It’s what drives much of my work, gives it meaning. Without a muse, I’d be a photographer… not an artist.

I don’t regret these things. They give me life and memories of times where I wouldn’t sleep, because I was living in the moment… listening to you breathe… looking at your hands. You were a stranger to me, but I felt most comfortable in your arms and swimming in your thoughts.

Working with my father’s 1936 Oldsmobile has been good for the old soul in me. I’ve been reading and watching some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s more notable works. Set during the 1920’s and 30’s… I feel like I’ve lived in those times before. Getting lost in fictional drama, other people’s drama, it’s been soothing. Reminding me that I once felt passionate about another tragic soul. And just maybe, I might do it again.

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Duality on Kodak Portra

12220001-a 12220008-a 12220012-a 12200007-aKodak Portra is slowly but surely becoming my favorite film these days. There’s a realistic subtle tone to it that I don’t get with Fuji or Lomo. The clarity is much better than the Lomo films I’ve been testing and the remaining grain is uniform and aesthetically pleasing.

For the Duality work, it’s being transformed into something more ambiguous, less literal in the translation. For the next few weeks I’ll be shooting more images that create a plasticity within the frame. I personally enjoy the way my eyes are forced back and forth, figuring out the two exposures.

There is a play on the eyes, something I’ve been trying to incorporate into this work. I am finding the voice for this particular evolution of the project. As the weeks go by, the images should become more consistent and start to create a play by play story about where I am with my photography and my personal path.

I’ll keep adding the images I am having processed through The DarkRoom.com. In a few weeks I’ll gather up my top images and start printing them out for post. I’ve been experimenting with some alternative practices in printing. I can’t wait to get to the point of sharing those.

New Duality Work in Progress

000094920001-duo-transfer-lighten-blendWorking on something with a little more plasticity than usual. My new approach to Duality is more real, raw and natural. It represents where I am in this photographic journey. Taking my art to new heights and learning what it really means to be transparent.

Emerging; A Collection of Fine Art Nudes

“When women pose thoughtfully and artistically – in nothing but their bare skin – they find themselves. They discover that they are truly alive. They become a Nude.”

~David Allio

The French Academy in the 19th century viewed the depiction of the nude as the ultimate measure of an artist’s skill. Today, I too regard the nude as a measure of my own skill and maturity. As I worked on each of these, I watched myself grow and found an identity as an artist. I present an obsession of female nudes inspired by masters of paint, Ingres, Titian, Bougereau and Velasquez. I incorporated their selection of rich colors, symbolism and chiaroscuro lighting to create my own works of art.

The results are an honest appreciation for beauty, expressed poetically by the artist.

I have studied the nude as a subject for nearly a decade. In this time my work with the subject and photography has grown immensely. I’ve produced a beautiful Moleskin Monograph to showcase a selection of my work. Each image is available as an 8×10, limited edition giclee print, on Hahnemüle fine art paper. These prints will soon be made available on Saatchi Art online as well as http://www.MelodyHallFineArt.com. If interested, please message me for details.

Thank you all very much for your support and kind words. I couldn’t have chosen a better career than creating art for people.

Emerging Book

Time Traveling

I get this feeling that I’ve been traveling through time. Living in all of the dimensions at once. Taking bits and pieces from each conscious moment and creating a new dimension. It’s weird. I can sit and think for hours in circles, coming out of it with a sense of something. That’s usually it though, a sense of something. Nothing tangible, I end up getting distracted and forgetting the details but keeping the sense. Things like awesome sunsets after storms and a 5 year old asking if we can chase the sun, those type of distractions are the best. Mostly because I have enough sense to pick up my camera for a one off spontaneous moment. Like this one.

The Whole World

Animal Spirits

 

Lately I’ve been working on a new project dealing with double exposures and my current surroundings. Giving a feeling of being in between two moments or places. Like when you meditate, that space between thoughts that helps you center. I’ve been meditating much more lately. Working on some business branding and prepping for the future. My imagination is on and I have been pulling together my resources to make magic happen. Until then, I present you with some illustrations of my mind brain. How I see when I look inside.

Duality; the book

Aloha!

I’ve finally printed a book of Duality! It is available on Blurb, printed on pearl photo paper. For a short time, you can receive 35% off with a promo code: superwoman35u

I am very excited to pull together some of my favorite Dualities from the past 5 years. I hope you enjoy viewing my work as much as I enjoyed making them. Thank you for hanging in there and seeing this through with me. I’m designing an online retail space for my limited edition prints and artwork. Keep an eye out, it will be up very soon.

Thank you very much for following me through the years. It’s been such a pleasure to create for you.

 

Melody

 

Somewhere In Between


Self portraiture has been a long standing theme in art, not just photography. From Ancient Egypt to modern day’s digital selfie, the self portrait has been a meaningful and shallow way of expressing one’s self. As a youth I recall seeing Van Gogh’s self portrait. I understand it to be a useful way of studying one’s art. Whether it is painting or photography, the self as a subject has a place in historical reference and as a genre of it’s own merit.I had been introduced to Cindy Sherman during my undergrad and enjoyed her film stills, but self portraiture had no depth until I learned about the life and art of Frida Kahlo. It was a self taught painter, with a disability, forced to use her own image in order to express herself… her torment. Her self portraits document her physical and psychological pain as well as serving as a visual journal of her life with Diego Rivera.

I align with Frida because of my own physical and mental disabilities and living with someone whom was manipulative and destructive. I too painted from within, showing the world what I felt, not just what I saw. For me, the significance of Frida’s influence in my early self portraits trumps that of any photographer. I did not use my own image because I wanted to, it was because I had no other option. I was debilitated with depression and agoraphobia, I could not even leave my bed at times. I connected with Frida on mental level, something I have not found elsewhere.

When it comes to influential photographers in my current work, I look to the work of James Welling and Richard Tuschman. While both artist’s work has been recently introduced to me, I can see how their use of color and light move me to create my own personal pieces. Warmth of the light, coolness of shadows, it’s natural. The introspection of their work is encouraging and moving. Reminding me that not all photographs need to be visually appealing to hold meaning.

Not originally creating work as a photographer, James Welling began his art career in drawing and watercolor. He, like Tuschman, have been impacted by Edward Hopper’s reflective work. In his paintings, Hopper depicts ordinary scenes with an isolated figure in deep thought. His use of

light, color and architectural influence define his style and continue to influence artists today. When I first learned to paint, I referenced Hopper’s use of light and shadow.

I consider Welling a well rounded artist. Not limiting himself to one medium, but making an effort to learn about the different formats of art in order to shape his own. I, myself, have studied art in a similar way. Learning not only about photography, but drawing, charcoal, painting, video editing, acting, set building and jewelry making. All of which have contributed to my own craftsmanship.

I look to James Welling as a diverse pioneer of art. Like Man Ray and Andy Warhol, he isn’t afraid to attempt what others shun. He started working with long exposure Polaroids and tested unconventional methods to intensify colors, such as adding heat. There really is a science to it all and I appreciate the initiative to step outside of the set boundaries to create a niche for himself.

Welling explores color, shapes, textures, mediums and light through unorthodox techniques. His work was stated to be a critical evaluation of photography in contemporary art. His untitled Photograms (1988-2014) are meditative and mood altering, simply by color saturation, lines and gradients. I find his work very organic even though they employ geometric shapes and fractals, which are a part of natural geometry. When I perceive my current work, I make use of shapes, lines and color in a similar manner, to evoke moods and narrate emotions.

In Welling’s architectural images, I find solace and reflection. Each empty room of Wyeth, (2010), give thought to the many rooms of my mind, places I’ve been, lives I lived. They reveal a little bit about myself as a viewer, forcing me to contemplate my past. All of Welling’s work seems to be a study, a form of research. Each time, creating a series of images worth sharing, allowing other artists to grow from. They remind me of my own experiments and how much I enjoy the alternative aspects of photography. I enjoy being hands on. If it is too immediate, the gratification is null. I feel I must work for my art, finding new paths of expression, deviating from the norm.

When I think of my own work, I look back before the Academy. I recall the adventurous attitude I had about photography, the thirst for learning. It was refreshing and now that my work has changed, I am feeling this sense of rejuvenation in my art. I have a firm comprehension on why I love photography and art in general. It’s not just the expression of myself, but the adventure in learning, the

investigation of new and old techniques, science and hands on creation. Just exploring inventive experiments and finding new methods of making art, adding to my tool box, it allows me to experience a bit of personal transcendence. I’m stimulated by the research and my mind is engaged, therefore ideas flow and my work evolves.

In contemporary art today, I had the notion that everything had already been done. It was pessimistic of me, I grew weary of my chosen path. I felt turned off by what I was seeing and questioning myself. After coming to the revelation that I do indeed enjoy creating art and being introduced to artists that I had never seen their work before, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to “see” again until I grew past that. I had to get out of my rut and recall why I started making art in the first place. I enjoyed the study of art and creating hands on.

Being able to mirror contemporary culture, it really opened my eyes to what rethinking the familiar meant. It allowed to to be open and receive new ideas, new to me and once I created art and added my experience to it, it became new to the world. No longer did I hold contempt for the contemporary, I embraced it. I am exploring ideas and concepts and questioning the past, expressing the present, so that I may visualize the future. My art is contemporary in the sense that it is expressing today, the present. I am a part of a larger movement, one day it will help define our past.

Part of what makes my work successful is that willingness to try new things, go beyond photography to experiment and bring forth different aspects of the art culture. I use the skills I learned from charcoal drawing to better understand light and darkness, chiaroscuro. While sure I can read about it, I actually learned it hands on, the way master painters learned. I took craftsmanship from my jewelry making class and physical expression from my acting classes. My video editing interests taught me about camera angles and color of light, how both can lead to dramatic changes in the way one sees.

As I learned the technical side of photography, I used myself as a subject. I explored less and worked harder at doing things the right way. I followed the rules and attempted to please my instructors for the sake of a grade. Doing this allowed me to learn many new skills from lighting, to photographic language and marketing myself. Unfortunately it lead me away from my eagerness to learn and experiment. I lost the initial interest of photography, I misplaced it burying it under technique and assignments.

I discovered my interest in psychology and how to communicate with a camera. I took on the project of Duality, exploring the mental side to my photography. I chose to use what I knew as a subject, me and my depression. It was the only way I knew that I could separate my work from the work of other contemporary self portrait artists. Even though many of the methods were the same, compositing and tableau vivant, my work was personal. I learned how to take personal experiences and express them through photography.

Duality eventually became redundant to me, visually and in context. I was creating new images, but nothing was inventive or innovative. I was acting out my life on a constructed stage. I grew tired of seeing myself and telling the same sad story over and over. I became negative and stopped shooting for personal reasons. I only forced myself to shoot for assignments, leaving my work un-exhibited and un-printed outside of the Academy, I fell into a rut. I did not have the enjoyment of photography and stopped considering it as a career.

It wasn’t until my current directed studies class, that I started voicing myself. Previously I tried to do the right thing, or make images according to the Academy’s direction. Trace listened to my venting and read into my posts. She encouraged me to not continue to do what isn’t working. Trace “allowed” me to experiment in order to make changes. These changes started small, making use of color of light as a focal point. I realized that I enjoyed using color to help narrate my images. Then I experimented with changing the aspect of Duality. I took away the one element that had previously defined my work. Like taking off training wheels, I felt liberated and scared.

It was the reconnection with research and experimentation that drove me to really make changes. I abruptly shot an assignment solely for self expression, deviating from the Duality project all together. It was meaningful, if only to me. It was aesthetically pleasing and it helped me navigate my new direction. I was able to visualize a body of work and in put it into terms that were relatable and professional. I had created a new path. I was invigorated, re-energized and loving the medium again.

I am still shooting self portraits, and enjoying the process. I am engaged with my art and considerate of my audience. I am striving for context that is meaningful and content that is aesthetically pleasing. I am active in my art again and exploring the use of medium format film as well as continuing my digital studies. With the introduction of James Welling to my stock of inspiring artists, I am breathing life back into my work.

My latest addition to my thesis, is a reflection of now, I am expressing what I am today. It’s a blend of the constant flux or transition. I seem to be in tune with the optimistic sense of things to come. The use of multiple layers to look like double exposures, replicating my feelings of flux and instability in change. I make use of equivocal spaces to create a tactile plasticity for the viewer to experience that feeling of movement and fluctuation.

My “self” is no longer a clear view of what I look like, but how I feel. It is obscured as if I am unsure of my identity. It allows the viewer to step into the image as the literal subject, allowing them to feel the ambiguous state of being. In conjunction with shapes, color plays a large component to my narrative. It sets the mood whether it is conflicting or harmonious, a combination of colors and shapes will naturally let the viewer navigate through my images, without hesitation.

All of these attributes help define my work as modern. I have a respect for the classics, learned from the Masters and contribute to the contemporary. I am realizing that everything I have learned up till now are allowing me to be a part of today’s modern movement. Blending together the past and the present is what Contemporary Art means to me.

My self portraits are not a part of a trend in contemporary art, like the selfie. My work in self portraits has been established as a reputable genre, a source for inspiration. Like those whom have come before me, I too am becoming a testimonial for self portraiture. I address the question of why with an explanation of changing answers, from necessity and control to the enjoyment of creating autobiographical images to share. My self portraits have been a performance of documenting my psychology to a study of form in nudes. I use myself to create art because it is what I know best.

 

References:
http://jameswelling.net/biography http://jameswelling.net/categories
Themes in Contemporary Art by Gillian Perry, Paul Wood

Longing to Be Me Again

Longing

Longing to be me again is something I often catch myself doing. Reminiscing the days when I was social, when I wore make up and cared about what people thought. Sometimes it’s nice to just dress up and be complimented. These days there is more quiet in my diet and less chatter. I introvert some times of the year, reflect on my growth and think about where I want to go from here.

Duality has taken me to many places in and out of my mind. I always end up back where I start. Some call it full circle, I call it refueling. Gathering my-selves and estimating our worth. I’ve learned so much and feel like I’m just beginning. Not starting over, just moving in a different direction. Changing my sway, my swagger… but still to a beat. The music never stops for me, it just changes tempo.

 

Where the Wild Things Art

Where the Wild Things Are

I’ve been working on evolving  my Duality work. This is the latest test shoot. Some details still need to be worked out, but it’s coming along quite well. Back to my roots and working on shooting these in film.

Duality: A Visual Essay

Here’s a mini essay about my Duality project. It’s been a challenge and a blessing. Through my project, I have done so much inter-personal work. It’s been an eye opener about myself and people around me. You really get to understand the human psyche and see through peoples actions and intentions. It’s left me feeling raw and humbled.

Bakhtin; Self Through Another

“I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another…”
         ~Bakhtin

1 on 1

In my own journey of becoming a self aware subject, I look into the works of 20th century Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s theory on self realization through the use of a another is key to giving meaning to ourselves and our art. As I produce my duality self identifying images, I have gotten to know myself better. Through playing multiple roles of myself, I can explore the meaning of this quote. I step into two pairs of shoes, one my extroverted perceived self and the other, my private centered self. I tend to let them both have time to exercise their beliefs and projections. For my perceived self, it’s my notion of how I want people to see me. It’s my style and my likes that manifest into this person. It’s my confidence and my self esteem that are allowed to act out here, in this form. I take pleasures in the everyday and relate to pop culture and the general public. I enjoy the attention I receive and it gives my ego a immediate gratification.

Then there is my centered self. My private life, my introverted side. This is the real Melody, no show, no ego. It’s who I am and whom I’ve always been. This part of me doesn’t really change so much as the perceived self, which is always in flux… reacting to the world around. This introverted self is where I come to feel a sense of center. It’s when I relax and reflect on my life. In my room, all alone in privacy. This side of me does not react to social media, does not act aggressively, but it rests. It absorbs the day’s experiences and slowly makes needed changes in thought and in mindful ways.
By allowing myself to have a dual relationship with myself, I am learning and revealing myself to myself. I am growing spiritually as well as physically. I shoot these self portraits because I feel the urge to express both sides of my personality with my tools of photography. I use these dual images to explore my insecurities and to help me better understand who I am and what direction to move in. This illustration of my innermost ideals make me vulnerable but without them I would not have the clarity that I do now.
Because of my dual nature and the ability to recognize them, I can also find myself in others. I see my past in people, my own struggles and breakthroughs. I listen to people speak of their own life adversities and I can relate because I know too well the trials of life. I can speak up or I can choose to sit quietly and learn more. I learn more about the person as well as myself as I hear their emotions in their voices. I hear passion and pain, I relate. I recall things I may have suppressed. I know it’s all coming to me in good time. I learn more about myself with each conversation. Bakhtin believed that we could not come into consciousness without the unavoidable social element of dialog. To participate with another we find meaning in our own existence.
I am learning not to judge people, but to let them reveal so that I may share in my own revelations in order for us both to grow. I am slowly becoming more conscious of myself, everyday. I have come out of this shell and off this island to allow people back into my life.
I realize that the more I communicate or listen, the more I recognize and embrace my own flaws and my progress.

     “I cannot manage without another, I cannot become myself without another; I must find myself in another by finding another in myself (in mutual reflection and mutual acceptance)…”
                                          ~Bakhtin

I comprehend the notion of not being able to live without another, even if that other is my other. Without another, I have no one to reflect upon. I would always be self absorbed not looking out. In the beginning of my duality self portraits, I was always looking in for answers. As the project developed I steadily started to look outward. First at artists I would read about, Frida Kahlo was a major influence in understanding the relativity between me and the people out there in the world. I started to see myself in her.

     “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
                                           ~Frida Kahlo

I chose to shoot self portraits because I also knew no one better. I had been alone for so many years in a deep depression. I felt that if I didn’t find a way to express my duality, I may go mad. I use photography as a tool to illustrate what I cannot say and to identify myself … my inner thoughts and self expression. In my art I convey this notion of simultaneously existing with my alter ego or other. It is this mirror that I look into my own eyes as if I am looking into another’s.

I became aware of many things with my duality but not really until I began to see the people around me as teachers of life. Once I moved out of my tiny studio and into a house with a close friend, I felt I came full circle. We have a syntax and a language that not only comforts me with familiarity, it stimulates my intellectual and my memories. As I came out of my depression,  I threw away all ideals of myself and people during this time. I have resurfaced as a new person, an coexisting as the same person I was before. I have been getting to know myself again these past few months through the help of friends and reconnecting with people. I feel like I have grown immensely since this Summer, since I immersed myself back into society. I am allowing myself to see life through others eyes. Without all of these people, I would not have a sense of who I am. Without them, I would still be a scared girl, vulnerable and afraid to come out of the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited:
Task of the Teaching Life: Self Through Bakhtin Dialog and Ideological Engagement, Douglas McKnight http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02698878
Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor and Liberation. David McNally pp 123- 129

My Duality project and how I got to where I am today.

I was born and raised in the Southern states of America. My mother and father, both from very poor families, met during the Vietnam-American war. I grew up on Army bases with an older brother as my guardian and my hero. He was a natural artist and could sketch or paint anything he imagined. I was always envious of the artist in him. I lived in his shadow until I moved to California.

At the age of 21, I left the South to pursue an education and find my path. I spent the next decade taking darkroom courses and working full time to pay for my California lifestyle. During my time as a business consultant for Apple, I had a break down. I had gotten very ill and spent time in the hospital recovering after a life saving surgery. It was a turning point for many aspects in my life. I decided to follow my dreams of becoming an artist and getting a degree in something I was passionate about. I applied to the undergraduate program at the Academy, it was 2008.

It has been a long road to recovery, mentally. I had fallen into a depression that would last over five years. This emotional roller coaster is how I fueled my creative spiral. I used the photography as therapy and my emotions as concepts. During my undergrad I learned about photography technically and conceptually. I learned about color and light and experimental methods of capture and print. I was so distracted by the academics and technicalities of art, I was able to push through my dark times.
Much of my duality stems directly from my life experiences. During and after my depression, I came to second guess myself and quickly become indecisive. The smallest tasks became enormous obstacles. I became agoraphobic, not leaving the safety of my bed, my island. It was these soul wrenching moments that I used to express myself. I began to shoot myself out of need of a subject then eventually my self portraits turned into my need to express myself, my therapy.

I used myself to learn lighting and conceptual thinking. I also used myself to push my Photoshop skills and composite. I used my own experiences, my own body and mind to produce pieces of my mind. Only recently was I able to convey my vision exactly as I see it in my head. All of the pieces I learned over the years started to come together this year. My confidence as a photographer is finally catching up to me and I can see the growth in my work.
The evolution of my Duality project is visually apparent. The images revealed where I was both mentally and technically in my work. I was using Photoshop to composite and beautiful landscapes to help create a surreal world, to construct my realities. The project was my therapy and my distraction.

Now in the second stage of development, I have grown as a photographer and a narrator. In these images, I’ve grown to appreciate my second nature and even nurture it. Technically the images are more dynamic, less flat. There is more of a commercial feel to them with a better quality of light and contrast. I feel that I am not just a photographer, but a conceptual story teller.

 

Duality Film Still #1

 

Split Personality

I’m just an average man, with an average life
I work from nine to five; hey hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone

Rockwell is all that is going through my head as I edit this image. Rad. I am working on the Duality series again. I figure it needs a little closure or a end of some sort. Since I go through life like a movie still, frame to frame, I thought it was on;y right to shoot these in wide screen format. Duality as a movie…. treatment and more stills to come!

Genghis at the Moxie

A few shots from the Fun Pole Fitness show at the Moxie. This talented chica is Genghis, she’s 100% rad and one of the toughest chicks I’ve ever met. Not only is she beautiful and strong, she’s graceful. Genghis’s work is inspiring and I am stoked to know her. Thank you Genghis for having us out, it was a pleasure.

ambiente e me

Miss Melo

 

These are a few of my self portraits I’ve been taking in the sun. They are double exposures of me and my environment. Plastic cameras are  way too fun to put down. 🙂

the proper way to begin my day…

…by jumping out of a plane, ten thousand feet above the ground. It is the most thrilling/freeing thing I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to do it again. 🙂 Nothing compares to the first moments of falling out of a plane then free-falling over California with Mexico and the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. AHHHHFUCKINGMAZING. Thank you Long for the Christmas present of a lifetime. 🙂 Stoked to be alive.

No Greater Love

 

 

we

 

 

There is no greater love
Than what I feel for you
No sweeter song
No heart so true

There is no greater thrill
Than what you bring to me
No sweeter song
Than what you sing, sing to me

You’re the sweetest thing
That I’ve ever known
And to think that you are mine
You are mine alone

There is no greater love
In all the world, it’s true
No greater love
Than what I feel for you

~Amy Winehouse

Back in ‘Nam

        buddhist monk vietnam 2001

I went to this temple often before they repainted it. It’s near my mom’s village where she grew up as a child. He’s my fleeing monk.

Nam

This is my Aunt doing the wash out front while the tide is high. I had visited them in 2001 and 2004, it’s a beautiful country. Highly recommended.

Nietszche, Apollonian and Dionysian Poles

Apollo & Dionysus
du·al·i·ty  (d-l-t, dy-)
n.
The quality or character of being twofold; dichotomy.

In Greek Mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are Gods, born from Zeus. Apollo, the God of the Sun, represents music, intellect, logic and reason. Apollo is often seen with a bow and arrow or a lyre. While Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, is the God of the Earth. He represents the bliss of life with wine, agriculture and fertility. Often depicted with wine and a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. I grew up celebrating Bacchus in New Orleans, we celebrate life, abundance and the ecstasies of living. I fled to California at a young age in search of order.

For me, duality is an inner struggle, something non tangible that keeps us questioning our identity. For some there is a balance, for others an extreme. I am learning to let both sides of my mind live together in a harmonic balance. I’ve been working on my dual sides for the past few years. It has become my creative spiral, from which I draw inspiration from. I struggle with anxiety, hyper-mania and depression. I believe this came about after living such a lavish life in my teens and twenties, the balance was bound to take place.

After surviving my own great tragedy, in which I came very close to death, I withdrew from society and became agoraphobic. I began the long journey of getting to know myself. I was taught about art, history and the creative spiral. I dove into it head first and have landed firmly on my feet.

My spiral is about the inner conflict, the light and dark or Apollo and Dionysus. I have gained the insight to balance my two halves, to create my ideal person and bring peace to my life and those who know me. Since I cannot live without one or the other, I must learn to live with both my yin and yang.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) defines the two and believed that we must have a balance of both order and chaos to be the best possible person we can. Once the scales tip to one side or the other, the tribulation is inevitable. Both traits are required to live a balanced life.

Apollo’s powers of control, blocks creative instinct and spontaneity. There would no longer be that gut feeling, just logic. Without some control, the chaos would get out of hand, therefore leading me on into the depths of emotion and depression.

The individuality of Dionysus makes me original, it feeds my creative side. It makes my art mine. While the analytical side to Apollo helps keep me from excess. It helps to moderate and balance my intuition and reason. So that I may not fall again, but be successful in all areas of life.

Life is full of cycles and learning to balance the scales will bring us closer to leading a fulfilling life. This is why I believe it is urgent that we know ourselves, our limits and how to stimulate some chaos… it gives order a reason to be.

Works Cited:
Co-Operative Inquiry: Research into the Human Condition, by John Heron

East

East

I took a ride as far East as I could go, before it got dark this week. I found a vista with a line I could make out in the mountains. I had been searching for a path to represent where I am. It has been a long and rugged one, crooked at times… not just literally but metaphorically speaking. I liked this one because I couldn’t make out where it actually began or ended. I could only see a part of it, like only living in the present, not looking too far ahead or behind. The landscape around was overwhelming but peaceful, like my life has become. My life has calmed down but the changes are overwhelming on my path. I look East as far as the eye can see and I want to go further. I should just enjoy the view.

A Little Death & Duality @ Fame Chicago

seven n seven  Please Stand By

la sucia

seulement vous

This past weekend a new restaurant, Fame, opened in the Chicago neighborhood Wicker Park. I was asked to submit some work for the opening. These are the 4 that grace some of those walls. These are an extension of the Duality series I’ve been working on for the past few years. I always imagine killing off one of my egos. This set has been a lot of fun, super creative and dark. I’ll be posting the rest as they come to life. Here are some links to the restaurant, if you are in Chicago…. stop by!

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

A Bathroom Quickie

a quickie

So I have had a few ideas for this bathroom. I keep going over it in my head. I really would like to create a proper drowning, water splashes and all. The other night I tried to shoot one real quick with a wife beater on, but was told that a) I look like a plumber dyke needing tools and b) it was too bright in the room. So I hesitated on posting it. I woke up this morning with my usual fuck you attitude. So here it is. And Fuck you Reese. 😉

 

The Sea, She Moves Me

poop pool 3 1200 w children's pool 5 1200  14_4_Hall  
The Sea is one of the most beautiful elements in nature, something to be respected and preserved. I grew up near the Ocean and it has been a part of my earliest memories from childhood. It scares me, soothes me and sings me to sleep. It can be strong and nurturing like a mother or cold and lonely as the night. The Sea is where we got our start and it is where my obsession lies.

In this collection of digital images, I capture the movement of the sea after the sun goes down. During these magical moments, the long exposures allow the water to change into a mist.  The effect of the misting water around a stable item like a cliff or pier, the viewer can see the magic and emotionally relate to the environment. As they journey through my images, the viewer can see how moods are affected by the environment and weather.

My goal is to show the power and beauty of the ocean, after hours. Most people leave after sunset and don’t get to witness the beauty after dark. The ocean and reminiscent light leftover from the day, put on a magical show that can only be captured in a camera.

Searching…

 

Can't stop searching

Can’t stop searching

 

I got the notice that my self portrait that I took last year immediately after my dog was maliciously killed by a pitbull. I swear I’ll be searching forever, but I won’t stop. I miss my boy like you would not believe. I’ve cried everyday that he’s been gone. I cry because my heart is broken and my boy has been taken. The dog that killed him deserves to be put to sleep. I still believe that to this day. He snapped at my kid and killed my dog. That dog is a menace to society and will harm someone else soon. I hope someone does take action a forces the owner to do what is right, what needs to be done. No matter how much training you pay, no pit bull can be trusted. I never thought that until it happened to me. If I could I would do it myself, but I’m not allowed. Someone in San Diego please put that dog out of my misery. Or take him to be locked up forever. He doesn’t deserve life.

Moody Waters

These are a few from my moody waters project I’ve been working on for the past few months. I’ve been working so hard on my portfolio for graduation, I forget that there’s actual beauty to all of this. I never allow myself the pleasure of enjoying my surroundings. I stack my images in a box, shove them under my bed and keep living. One day after I’m long gone, I hope someone finds all of my archives, both digital and printed. THere’s so much in there that I have never even glanced at. Maybe I’ll go through them before the technology is obsolete and create a book of earlier works.

This lovely coastline is in California. La Jolla shores in San Diego. It’s so rare that I get the mood and emotion out of the sky, so I’m a sucker for overcast and cloudy days. I haven’t had a chance to process these too much, call me lazy.. I don’t mind. This week will be busy, so keep an eye out for some gold along these coasts.

West Coastin’

Crystal Pier Right Crystal Pier Left Coronado Bridge

 

Hi Ya’ll! I’ve been working on a water obsession of mine and am coming up with some keepers! I love the movement of time captured in a single frame. I’ve been visiting local piers in the San Diego area. Here is Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. The last one is of the Coronado bridge, all I can think of when I drive over it… Ron Burgundy. You stay classy San Diego.

Aquatic Butterflies

BirchButterfly Birch Butterfly Birch Butterfly

 

Kai and I went down to Scripps in La Jolla. He loved the aquariums, he is a true Aquarius. Here are some of the jellyfish we encountered dancing a ballad. They look like underwater butterflies. I love them, they make us smile.

The Space Between

What separates me from most of you, the Pacific Ocean. It’s a long drop here, about 60 feet offshore the island has a sheer drop 6000 feet into the deep. This is where the big blue whales come during the winter months to raise their young. It seems that is the thing to do in Hawaii, raise young.

This image is a part of an ongoing project this fall. After losing someone, I’ve been creating a darker series about how lost I’ve felt. I’m not sure when the pain subsides, but for now it fuels my work.

 

The Wait

 

OK! Working on my finals for my Contemporary fine art class at AAU. It’s been a very busy week. My brain is everywhere and I am sitting here waiting for it to come back and settle down. I took this image at a family friend’s house, it was his birthday so we enjoyed some Patron and ran around the orchard. It was a beautiful day!! Wish you were here!

Movie Poster Composite Work

Here are a few of my composites from Fall ’11. I chose to work on movie posters as a final for my Photoshop class at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. It was my first time actually shooting for composite and placing all the details in the right spots with Photoshop. All I can say is I am no longer afraid of layers.

Gunshots on Laguna & Eddy 2007

With last night’s shooting fresh on my mind, I dig into my archives.

The first time I heard someone screaming at me, “Get Down!”, I lived in San Francisco off Laguna & Eddy St. I recall 5 shots then, no victims this time. I was there for the aftermath, as usual. But not for long, the shots were related to gang violence and not a place for me. These are a few of my shots from the “do not cross” tape, provided by SFPD.

*** All images have been taken by Melody Hall and are copyright.

de fence

Defences

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make me smile. And when it comes in the form of a photograph, I know I can smile over and over. I took this picture of an old fence we found on our walk about Inverness Ridge. A snapshot makes my day, everytime i see it.

*** All images have been taken by Melody Hall and are copyright.

Fading Fences

fading fences only

Lake Henshaw fades away… I can’t believe this lake used to fill this area, now theres about 1/10 of it left. I’d make my way to view another lost natural resource, human consumption isn’t pretty.

*** This image was taken by Melody Hall and is copyright.

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