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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The Space Between

 

This body of work was created out of the need to express myself and where I am at now. My sadness and grief, over the loss of my friend, overwhelmed me at points. Causing me to wake up and see what I am doing as an artist, a parent and a photographer. I questioned myself in each of these areas. Creating a rift between my past and my present. Since this awakening, I’ve used my time to nurture my relationship with my son and with my art. Living each day in the present, trying very hard not to think about the future or the past.

I made the decision to place my Duality project on hold while I sort out my new direction in life. I continued to shoot myself, but decided it was time to shoot in the present mind frame. My transient life, so very temporary and delicate. Each emotion I have is contradicted by my environment, creating a new space of where I am and where I belong.

When I left Cali, I was dead set on living in New Orleans, near my best friend and in the city I left many years ago. I made the assumption that it was the same and I’d be able to take part in the art community to build a business. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop the memories of my best friend flooding my mind each time I was in the city. So I stopped looking for my place there.

I began creating images based on the instability I was feeling. I wasn’t comfortable in the South, I wasn’t looking forward to living here. I started to create images that illustrated how I felt inside. I felt like I was in between, in transition from one life to another but no longer in either. It was this space that I created in order to make sense of my mind’s ramblings.

These days I’m trying to remember that the moment is more important than the past or the future. So often I get caught up with where I’ve been or trying to get to, I forget to stay consciously in the now. I forget to stop thinking. I forget to breathe. I forget to enjoy the moment, lengthen it for as long as possible.

This work is about the now, this space in my life. I was torn between my West coast life and the South. My mind was never still, always anticipating the future and how I was getting there. The more and more I was around my son, the more I realized I wanted to enjoy the moments we were having. I had to learn to quiet my mind, so that my son could enjoy our time. As a kid, there is only the now. They don’t think too far ahead and he can’t remember much of his short past.

This project has challenged me to shoot photography that represents who I am today. They are self portraits, created with double exposures. I shot images of myself and my environment, then combined them digitally. They express the transient qualities of seeing in between the moments, pausing to breathe. Over the Summer, I plan to become one with my medium format camera in order to continue the project in film.

The images I am presenting are the ones I find most cohesive, in line with my thoughts and each other. They blend together two perspectives, two places in time. The double exposure brings a plasticity that allows the mind to float back and forth in the picture plane. The senses are allowed to absorb the colors and the shapes, distracting the mind from straying away from now. Essentially, the images allow my mind to rest, lengthening the space between.

The progress I have made since I left California is great. Now, I have a group of images that have set the tone for the direction of the work. I have figured out what types of images I am blending and how to shoot for them. I’ve thought about what I want the audience to feel and have found it in the equivocal space.

By using tactile plasticity as a technique, I am creating a particular feeling. By blending images together, I can let the viewer’s mind play around the plane. The mind’s eye can move back and forth, in and out of the images. Seeing them separate and as a whole. The images distract the mind from intruding thoughts. The act of figuring out the two images gives the mind a break. No longer are the thoughts of tomorrow or yesterday clouding the mind. The only thing is the now, whats inside the picture plane. It’s a fun way to play with the eyes and the mind.

Being always in transition is hard. I am always worried about the future and sometimes depressed about the past. I get caught up in preparing myself for the next move, when I needed to just be in the now. I’m slowing down to see what these in between spaces have to offer for personal growth.

For the direction of the project, I am trusting myself and the process of evolution. As I shoot more and with film, I understand the aesthetics may change, but the subject and plasticity won’t. I will continue to shoot daily and create a data base of images to work with. I understand I use the cameras as tools to create art, express my ideas. So I will allow work to evolve and unfold, showing me the way.

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.

San Diego’s Finest; A Story of Misfits and Outcasts

This ongoing essay began as an insider’s view of the inner workings of the service industry. After shooting my first assignment, I realized the subject was too broad. I had to start small and focus on a select group of people. I used my day job at an old dive bar/ barbecue joint to gain access to the subjects that I wanted to know better. This particular establishment has been in San Diego for over 30 years and has a loyal group of outcasts that either work here or are regulars.

I began shooting them in their element, where they are most comfortable and as if there wasn’t a camera around. Everyone is used to seeing me with a camera of some kind in my hand. So the access was wonderful, no one felt the need to clam up or act differently.

The personalities come out and the expressions on their faces are of truth and life. These faces are thick and are weary from experience. Each of these individuals has a shady past with multiple closets full of skeletons, but aren’t judged when they walk in the door. We all come together as a subculture here in San Diego, magnetics of life, drawing like minds together.

I show the faces of the people I work with because I think they are a bunch of special people, with lots of stories to tell. Their stories are written deep int he crevices of their faces and in their eyes. Our lives have been anything but boring, we live by the seat of our pants, not caring what the rest of society thinks. We accept each other, flaws and all. That is all that matters in our slice of reality, because within these walls, we are San Diego’s finest.

(a work in progress)

 

 


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She’s Like Day & Night

Day & Night

 

This is my second image from the newest Duality series. There’s a lot more going on in this scene, I’ve illustrated my own day and night habits.

I try to think logically in the mornings, it’s hard to wake up but I know I need to get my work done early before my distractions start chiming in. This side of my brain has loads of common sense and tends to be straight forward, well organized and rational. I tend to be a little more OCD in this mindset. It’s how things get done around my house. This is the stress inducing Melody, she speaks her mind and isn’t afraid of offending anyone.

While the night time is for my right brained activities. I stay up very late and work creating until I’m exhausted and pass out. I research projects endlessly, brainstorming my ideas for the week. I work without concern for organization or logical thinking. It’s all imagination and vision when I am in this mode. I tend to be more emotional when I am creative. I reminisce and use my past experiences to drive my work. This Melody is more prone to stay inside for a week while she creates her newest masterpiece. She doesn’t care for the general public and finds the inside of her home and her garden a bubble from the rest of the world.

For this image I was inspired by Dave Hill. His composites have been pushing me to try harder. Occasionally I look back on the photographers that have influenced me over the years, and I find something new. Some new technique I never noticed before… it was confidence this time. The confidence to create an image that I am not experienced at. This was my first transitional composite. Going from day to night in one frame is exciting for me. It shows me how far I’ve come in the last year. My concept is evolving and all I have to do is work hard and maintain this balance.

Thank you for checking out my progress. It’s going to be a fantastic fall, stay tuned for another installment of Duality by Melody.

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!

For Sale; Los Angeles, City of Gold

I have  made a set of 5 black and white images of Los Angeles and printed them using an archival method on 23 karat gold. The gold sheen is beautiful when the sun hits. Each image captures a part of Los Angeles that is lost in the mayhem of street signs and clusters of buildings. It’s all a part of my lost cities I’ve been working on. I am debuting it with Los Angeles.

There is a limited run of 5 each. It takes about 3-4 weeks to make each image. They are all hand crafted and unique. These 5×7 images are all mounted, matted and framed before shipping. Each image is 150.00 plus 25.00 shipping (within the USA). If you are interested in the entire set, $700.00 shipped, in the U.S.A.

Please let me know if you have any questions before purchase.   info@melodyhallphotography.com

They can be purchased here.

http://www.melodyhall.bigcartel.com

 

 

 

Actual Image

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.

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.

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. 😉

 

Nude Collection

Hall_M_01 Hall_M_02 Hall_M_03 Hall_M_04 Hall_M_05 Hall_M_06

I am a firm believer in learning as many new tools as possible, in order to convey my work. During the last few months, I was exposed to a handful of new printing and experimental processes that have helped find voices for my photography. I studied painting, charcoal and all aspects of photography, in order to be a well rounded artist. It has given me new avenues to explore and sheds new light on old work.

In this collection of images, I have taken my digital study of the nude and created one of a kind pieces of tangible art. These nudes, taken in ambient light, are traditionally printed, using Van Dyke Brown chemistry and the sun. Once they have dried, I infuse Batik wax and a warming pigment with heat, also known as encaustic. This makes the paper translucent and the ink feels sealed and protected.

My goal is to provide original mix media art in a classical style, with a classic subject. Once matted and framed, they look as if they were made a hundred years ago. Each one has it’s own subtle differences, brush strokes and blemishes. They all smell like the batik wax, “spices from the New World”, is where my mind takes me. I think the scent and character of the flaws adds to the overall feel of the presentation. Old world techniques mixed with modern ideas and tools.

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.

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.

miss melo’s finds of the day…

Went on a mission looking for old hotrods that were still works in progress. I found these gems at Back County Bootleggers Metal Fabrication
I lucked out and am going back for part two. There’s also a huge vert ramp in the back. enjoy…

*** Image taken by Melody Hall and is copyright.

Dark

The graveyard in Old Towne, San Diego is pretty old. It is in the “birthplace” of California. It’s got white wood grave markers, like white picket fence. It runs under the street too, so you are really just driving over indian graves and disrespecting the dead.

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

Figure-scaping

legs

This image is another in the series on figure-scaping. It is all relative in the theory of Equivalents. Mr. Minor White, besides having a great name, had great ideas.

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

Prince Makai of Wailau Valley

Makai & Mai

Here is a self portrait of my chihuahua and I. I used 2 softbox hot lights, tripod and a timer. I found it best to take Makai’s picture while holding him. He makes the perfect photo assistant!

Here we are on Makai’s family’s homepage!

**All of the images on this site have been taken by Melody Hall and are copyright.

am I coming or going…

up or down

Sometimes I am not sure which way is up and who is down. Thankful I am for these moments, they bring me a little peace once I have returned. Here I find myself looking up at a ladder, leading to a bell tower. There is beauty and life in this seemingly lifeless building. I find myself in the most amazing places sometimes. I like the emptiness of life here at the old police headquarters.
*** All images have been taken by Melody Hall and are copyright.

opportunity

open door

As I go through life I look for these small opportunities, casting light on my mission. This day I found many little surprises in the Marina area of San Diego. Once there was light and probably bookings going on in here, maybe a lady in a pencil skirt and peep toe heels typing prisoner files. After all it was built at the end of the 30’s. I really thing that must have been a grand time. I imagine myself roaring through the 1940’s, Hollywood crime booming. Ahh, the good ole days.

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

Lucky 13

cell 13

I imagine the man that spent his days behind these numbers. Wondering what his crimes were and when he was incarcerated. This jail was built in 1939 for downtown San Diego. It was used until the eighties and abandoned ever since. It is being stripped apart, sold and chopped up into (haunting) retail venues.

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

Colors of Prison

colors of prison II sm wm

A great place for photography is the abandoned San Diego Police Headquarters. Built in 1939 and used until the mid 80’s. This is now under construction for a new retail space. There are still a few rows of cell blocks and plenty of toilets to view. The place is quite large and I imagine it goes underground. We found a few good places to photo shoot, oh how I wish to do a fashion piece here before it’s remodeled.
Enjoy it while there is still a bit of history left. San Diego is experienced at wiping away all traces of yesteryear for the sterile use of today.

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

Have you ever witnessed someone get dragged by a car?

Whilst in the archives, I grabbed out my random guy getting taken for a ride on Centre St in Hillcrest. The younger man started a fist fight as I was walking by. I pulled out my handy dandy Canon and started shooting. He even looks up at me while giving the old guy a bloody lip. I must say, when he wouldn’t let go of the car, as it drove away, I was in shock. I forgot I was even taking pictures, then grabbed one as they drove past me. The younger man’s legs dangling in the street. Kiddies, don’t do drugs, please.

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

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.

burn baby burn

Griffith Park Observatory

A few years back I lived under the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Los Angeles had just gone through a rigorous remodel with the observatory. Due to an accidental fire, it almost went up in flames. As I stood on my roof, wondering if I should evacuate, I decided to capture a moment. This moment is now burned into my memory and one of the last reminders of living in Los Angeles.

*** These images were 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.

KPBS Art Blog – Culture Lust

BFA_2C_Nude#7_MelodyHall
My image nude #7, is gracing the pages of Culture Lust. I shot this is a series simply labeled “nude”. “>www.MelodyInk.com.

You can view the KPBS blog here.

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

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