In the past year the reality of my life situation
has become unrecognizably familiar. I am so entrenched in a routine of constant social and emotional transition that going through motions of life caused reality to blur. The intense numbness blocked out everything external and forced me into a state that led me to realize a few things about the way I create, realize and live. I often thought of a portrait photograph as a cosmetic approach to document
the physicality of a human being. That is until I encountered Richard Avedon’s portrait photography. His descriptions of interacting with the subject helped me to articulate that beyond what I see physically,
there is an unfathomable amount of depth, soul and being in everything that exists. I didn’t think up a conclusion for these photos or ponder until I come up with something. This clarity came without effort and
That is because I surrendered my control. This only happened after I saw the photos after I had left the place where they were taken. Because I was physically removed and able to observe. A deep sense of peace washed over me when looking at them. I recognized a lot of internal struggle about people and things that were rapidly changing, things in which I had no control over.This pushed me further into a state of self acceptance.
After this occurrence, another quote from Richard Avedon “My photographs are more about me than the people in them.” This immediately linked to an abbreviation I came up with which is “IWIHTW” (“I wish I had the words”) New clarity reached me once I made this connection and I felt like I understood where so much conflict in the world came from. We are always searching for something we feel we do not have. Words, answers, love, ways to feel good, identities etc. We like to mechanically label ourselves and others and then try to fit into roles and cliques because none of us truly know where we fit in. But maybe, things simply are not that simple, because despite our skins, human beings are not black and white. It’s easy to look at someone, but it’s different to see them for who they are. The process of taking these images taught me I don’t have to search to discover. I don’t have to speak to make a statement. I don’t have to think to realize. I don’t need to know who I am. I don’t have to keep searching for myself.
I am myself.
A continued part of this series or collection of works was not anticipated. While formatting and posting about the self portraits there was a subtle emptiness I felt about this project, that wasn’t even aware of until I began to make certain connections about these images after viewing them for the first time. Initially the photos of my hands were nothing more than an experiment with some simple three point lighting. This was the case until a quote from a video that was playing on the computer made me stop editing the pictures and rewind what the narrator in the video said. “Sometimes an invisible hand touches your life; you plan to travel to the east but you go to the west; you plan to meet someone, but you meet someone else; you plan to fly in the sky, but you crawl on the ground.” I was hit with a moment of intense clarity, hyper energy and amazement before I realized I should write down the stream of consciousness that I was experiencing. I wasn’t even sure if what I was thinking made sense, but I felt like the analogy about the invisible hand resonated so heavily that without hesitation I connected it to the images of my hands I had taken the day prior. Another reason these images seemed to be connected was because both sets of photos were taken following some lingering feelings of angst and loneliness disappeared. Simply choosing to let the present moment guide me allows creative clarity . From there I can differentiate what feels true and expressive and what does not.Any creation is a collaboration between the controlled and the uncontrollable. The element of control in “IWITW” were the decisions that went into creating a natural environment for these images to manifest. The uncontrollable or the so-called “invisible hand” is the cognizance that entered me while viewing these photos after taking them. The only circumstance that would cause me to write this in depth about something I made would be because it was part of an assignment or because a blurb or artist statement about the work was required for something else like a gallery submission. But I am not writing this because I want to, but rather I feel like I have to.
For myself and for the sake of the unexpected circumstances that I experienced while taking these photos of myself.