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.

Sleep Tight

Sleep Tight

 

Testing the light I want to use for the rest of this project. Looks like I need to watch some Japanese horror flicks tonight for inspiration.

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.

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.