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.

Advertisements

Tapping into the human condition

I spent the last 10 years hiding away from people. I am awkward in social situations. I spent so much time alone thinking, that I forgot what it was like to connect to people. I may have even lost my empathy and compassion for people outside of my family. I’m not sure what happened to make me disconnect.

 

Now, all I think of is how I am going to turn my camera around and capture all the things about being human that I’ve been missing. How can I tap into humanity, connect with people again, on a whole new level.

All of these feelings I have are essential for empathizing with others. It’s basic emotions that bring people together… longing, love, pain.

If I had never experienced pain, would I have empathy? I f I had never been alone, would I know what it’s like to long? How can I use my past experiences to connect to people genuinely? How can I create a portrait of a human condition with the tools I have been given?

Then I wonder if all of this is out of some selfish need to feel relevant in the world, satisfying the unconscious.

What is really important to me now?

My son, my parents, my friends and their families. Teaching my son culture and humility, humbly. Helping people in need, not with money, with kindness and my two hands. Being genuine, real and not living through my ego. Building bridges and relationships with people. Being kind and having good intents..showing my son how to be transparent with his actions.

How can I use my own life experiences to bring awareness to causes that I hold close to my heart?

After speaking with Ed Kashi, something clicked. Was it his words or his tone? I think it was his genuine desire to understand my situation as we talked. He had questions to better understand me and where I was coming from. Then, he shut his mouth, and allowed me to speak. He listened. It was a moment in my world where I felt like someone was hearing my voice, I longed to be more like him… more human.

Finding my voice in photography has been a journey. Chasing my dreams, one after another… never giving up completely. I have had a very diverse path in getting here, and it’s taught me a lot about life, myself and relationships. I am learning to have the courage to let go and allow myself to enjoy the small moments along the way.

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

Lily

This week’s image is a little different but I feel like it is still in line with the project. While exploring new textures and ways of shooting the self, I’ve learned a lot. Not every image works and I don’t want the effect that an all white background brings. I like the way my literal subjects came together. The sparkling reflection off the water looks like magic, fairy dust. The lilies themselves are swan like, coming from mud and creating shelter for fish and beautiful flowers. I feel like I’m finally transitioning into something more, as I keep my son sheltered and produce memorable images. It’s these moments that I am thankful for, the self awakening ones that allow us to see in both directions but focus on the present.

 

lily

Change is the Only Constant

I’ve never been stable, physically. I moved around all my life, itching for change. Instead of working against the grain, I am embracing it. I know I’ll never be one to settle. It’s not in me. I’ll always seek out enlightenment, knowledge, tools and adventures. It’s become more than a way of life, but a change in life. Accepting what I do naturally as a gift and using the travel time to draw out that non moment, the unconscious moment in between thoughts and actions. Breaking the cycle.

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.

 

du·al·i·ty : the quality or state of having two parts

du·al·i·ty

noun \dü-ˈa-ləә-tē also dyü-\ : the quality or state of having two parts

Duality is my long term, photography project falling under the fine art genre. The intent is to create a series of self portraits, that speak to the viewer both visually and mentally. I intend the images to be reflective and reveal meaning behind the evolution of the “Self”.

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

~Bakhtin

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 hope you enjoy my images as much as I enjoyed the journey that brought them to life.

Duality comes to life.

This is my mid term for the Academy of Art, and a first attempt at bringing one of my Duality photos to life. Shot by and edited by me, the self portrait artist, evolving.

Pole Dancer & I

 

Encore Music’s cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”

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)

 

 


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

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

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. 🙂

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

Constructed Landscapes

I’ve been deconstructing my nudes and creating landscapes out of them. It totally sounds silly but they make me smile. It’s purely for creation sake. It’s not some deep personal series. They’re either places I’ve been or daydream about.  If I were a painter, I would paint them. Instead I use my camera as a tool to produce things that appease me. Not masterpieces but pieces of my memories composited together, a break from reality.

Sneek Peek

 

la sucia (dos)

 

I’ve been working on a bedtime project for the past two months. This is a peek at part of it. The other part is a collaboration from a fellow photographer. He shoots bright airy nudes and I’m keeping it on the dark side. Once we get our location on lock, I’ll give up more. Anyways, here’s a peek bitches.

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

Newsflash

a little good news

While I was roaming the aisles of nerds and celebs for Comic Con San Diego, 2013….. I came across a newspaper. Inside is a picture of a girl, taking a picture of my work at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. It totally made my day, week and just made Comic Con actually cool. I’m always surprised when others relate to my work. It’s actually pretty scary. The work is titled, “Searching”, it’s a really dark scene. About searching for someone after they have left us for good. Some days the search never ends in my little hollow heart. I love you Makai and still find myself searching for you out of the corners of my eye.

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 Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco

 

I graduated on the 24th of May with a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Academy in San Francisco. On my way to being a Master Printer. An image I composed last year made it into the Museum. It’s hanging until June 6th I believe. My mom, son, and oldest friend Lance came to wish me well. Super thankful for times like these. Just wish my dad were here too. I love you poppa.

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.

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.

In The Pink

Last year I was flipping through Flickr and came across some of Brooke Shaden’s images. There’s one with red fabric and in the tags, she wrote “a square piece of fabric”, or something like that. Instantly I wanted to know how she did it. So instead of researching the web like a smart person, I just grabbed one of my prop fabrics, some clamps and ran outside. I got this on a ladder and on my first set of shooting. The amount of images is so many layer, but it was a great learning experience. I got so involved in the post processing and kind of pushed myself out of my normal quick edits.

I have always been wanting to shoot a Bouguereau inspired image. I love the flowing materials and softness in his skin tones. I think it’s a personal project I will have to maintain after graduation.

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!

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.

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.

Going back in time with Vietnam

 buddha_fenced

A five hour drive south of Saigon will land you in the heart of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. The canals and waterways are a lifeline for the Vietnamese farmers. Their goods are carried to the floating markets via water. Hidden between thick jungle and a maze of canals you can find beautifully aged temples. The ruins and reminders of French architecture still haunt the land, what remains slowly crumbles back to the earth. A visually stunning country, filled with colorful, friendly people.

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

%d bloggers like this: