Working 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.
“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.”
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.
I finally got some of the film developed from my first test with my bulldog Winston. I really love the feel of film. The aesthetic could be compared to listening to a record. The nostalgic qualities of the clicks and pops, the warmth of the sound. Same with film, and when you get to shoot with medium format, the desire for digital fades like a mediocre dream. There is so much depth to this, like I’ve gone beyond the two dimensional surface and into little Winston’s soul.
These are straight out of the camera, no time to even process them any further than chemistry. I love it when things work out right, the first time around.
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…”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.