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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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.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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