Thursday, April 29, 2010

Only Ten Seconds

When I step in front of my camera to create a self-portrait, I have only ten seconds in which to reincarnate a feeling, convey a message, retell part of my personal history, or share hopes for my future. I never use a remote. I intentionally give myself only ten seconds because, in my experience, that has been the best way for me to give myself fully to the moment. I am able to suspend all thoughts and all efforts at achieving a pre-calculated result in the spontaneous urgency to create. I think I have always been happiest when engaging my creativity in this spontaneous way. It is what feels most natural to me. It is also very exciting.

The limited time seems to connect me with something beyond myself. My heart races as the timer on my camera ticks away. I inhale deeply and let my body move with the moment. It is in that very instant that I feel most alive! Almost as if my existence itself was tangibly nourished by expressing myself artistically. As if my art were food for my soul. Perhaps this would explain why I have always felt such intense urges to create!

Ever since I can remember I’ve sought to express myself, and share those expressions with others. The dialogue I have entered into with others as a result of my photography has been most rewarding. But it is also a dialogue that not only reaches out into the outside world, but it seeks to communicate within me as well. In creating self portraits I seek to enter into a rich dialogue with myself that excludes all judgements. It is raw and accepting, and it embraces everything I wish to express without first estimating it’s value. It is part of a total surrender to my creations, and it constantly challenges me to expand my comfort zones and just be myself! I create art to discover how much there really is to who I am. When I hear my camera’s ten second timer clicking away, the possibilities of what may manifest seem endless: like a whole galaxy being born from within me.

Uninhibitedly I continue to explore these uncharted regions of my being, and return from my journeys with little maps of the places I have explored. These maps are my photographs and I invite you to experience them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Masks

When I first begun creating self-portraits for public consumption, I wanted my photographs to show as many sides of myself as possible.I wanted to experience a full release of my being into my photographs. Ironically, the first items I purchased to ensure that this occur -even before I bought a tripod- were several masks. They were carnival masks reminiscent of those worn at the masquerade balls of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: a gold one with red feathers, a black velvety mask with beads dangling from it, and a little pierrot mask with a tear painted on it’s cheek. They were to serve me in achieving a certain liberating, playful anonymity of sorts.

Within this unidentifiable state, I wished to reveal more of my identity than I ever had before in public. With my face always hidden, I was certain I would be able to give myself fully to my self-portraits. I wanted to enter a world in which I would feel completely uninhibited, like the guests at Venetian balls, who danced as they never had before, in their elaborate disguises. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, if I could capture my spirit dancing freely in my photographs?

Too many people already knew my face, in my life, and because of that, they mistakenly thought they knew me. My photographs, I hoped, would function as windows into vistas of myself that no one ever saw painted on my countenance. They would be glimpses into sides of me that lived beyond the superficiality of common sights, like my face. Or even common knowledge, like my name. So, along with the masks I chose a pseudonym of sorts for myself to complete the disguise, and twirled into the ballroom with wild abandon!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Beginning

I have decided to start writing this blog today. Why today? Maybe because it is spring and a time for new beginnings. That is what it felt like when I first begun using my camera to express myself; like a new beginning in the ways I let the world see me. Allowing myself to uninhibitedly offer myself to the lens, (and the eyes beyond my lens), and reveal what had been previously hidden. Maybe not so much hidden as temporarily put to rest. Something that had been dormant woke up in me when I began taking pictures of myself. It wasn’t exactly a new side of me, but one I had lived in as a little girl.

My parents told me many times that I was born an artist. That I used to decorate their walls with life size, colorful murals of myself: self portraits that, perhaps, seemed to scream “I am alive, I exist, look at me!”. I made a habit out of doing this when we would move from one place to the next. I would leave my art on the walls, as evidence that this place had known my presence. That I had moved, and cried, and laughed, and breathed inside it’s walls, inside that space. I wanted the space to contain me even after my physical self had exited it. I think it was my way of reaching for immortality.

As a child I wished to leave permanent traces of my identity. Not little carvings of my name on wooden banisters, or trees in the back yard, but large, vivid portraits of my activities, my feelings, my thoughts. Somehow, I needed others to know. To know about me. Not just the pretty parts but the dark ones as well. And my messages were delivered in poems or stories, paintings or drawings, dances or plays, pieces I made up on the piano and played with great feeling. Ever since I can remember I have suffered from an overwhelming urge to express myself, and share my expressions with others. I believe I longed for some kind of dialogue with the observers. I wanted to know how my art affected them, if it even affected them at all, and for how long. I was a very precocious child.

Today these expressions of mine have found a way out of me via the lens of my camera. This blog will be my attempt to share my journey into photography, as a means to both conceal and reveal my identity, with whomsoever wishes to follow it. I hope this means you.