10 more days of my July daily challenge! Time has flown by, and simultaneously I feel like I’ve lived a whole lifetime these past 21 days. That is what living mindfully does for you. What thinking deeply and personally does. It is a drug.
Between yesterday and today, I’m fairly certain a few people think I have a personality disorder. Extreme dark and light, hopeful and depressing…sometimes my images are all over the place. I try to keep a visual cohesion for when I veer off the thematic rails, but this month is for experimenting, and today I set out to create another light-focused image. July is my experimentation month, better known as learning-more-in-July-than-in-my-whole-career month.
The other day I was interviewed and the person asking the questions prefaced by saying that they really, really hoped one of the questions they had wouldn’t upset me or offend me. The question was how I can be so different from my art. I giggled, a lot, at that question because of course I wasn’t offended! I am so grateful that I am not a harbinger of darkness (sidenote: my husband calls me Shade, so there’s that irony). But it isn’t totally true to say that I am so different from my art.
At the heart of what we do, whether it seems that way or not, is our very essence. I am able to create with darkness, not live in it. There is a distinct difference, but it doesn’t mean that I am not comprised of light and dark. We are all both, and we create from different pieces of ourselves depending on the day.
Today was a definite light day, especially after yesterday’s darkness. I like to swing the pendulum.
I’m settling in now to planning and reading and eating banana bread and generally having the greatest Friday evening. I hope you find a piece of bliss today, too.
Day 20 and things got WEIRD today. Seriously, really weird. I did a lot of writhing in front of my camera for today’s video to see how much I could get my skin to move over my bones. I also edited what felt like 92,512 hands onto my body. In reality it was only 40.
At the center of all the weirdness is a desire to create something personal, unique, and telling of the human psyche. As I was brainstorming for ideas today, I kept coming back to these themes:
Parts of Whole
Why? I asked myself what about them made me come back again and again. I believe that analyzing our thoughts leads to important art, so I try to ask myself why all the time. I had a vision of this image, a person made up of hands – holding her together? Tearing her apart? Trapping her? Releasing her? I didn’t care much about pinning down the final meaning, as long as it contained all of those meanings in the final image. I try not to answer questions such as those very closely. I don’t want to know, because I selfishly want to be both author and reader, onlooker and creator. I want to experience my own images the way someone else would; not just personally, but from the air, a hundred feet away.
At the end of the day, almost every image I create has great meaning to me. But, I’m not in this art game just for myself. I desire to speak for those who feel they don’t have a voice, to empower those who choose not to speak yet, and to relate to people no matter how distant or different. I am an introvert, ridden with anxiety and fairly anti-social. Art is my way of connecting. It is my way of skipping the cheap talk to get to what matters most; to have conversations with people that mean something. To look back and know that I spent my time trying. Not necessarily succeeding, but who cares about that, anyway?
My life will not be defined by if I succeeded, but by if I tried. This is me trying, reaching out to you and showing you who I am; not that superficial person that you might bump into on the street, who says “how are you” but really wants to ask “what is your passion?”, but the one who dives straight into those questions without worry.
Are you trapped?
Are you being torn apart?
Are you being held together?
Those are the questions I desire to know answers to, so this is my art, asking those questions.
On my last morning in Joshua Tree, which was yesterday morning, I woke up before the sun as usual. I took a few shots before the sun began to rise, but they felt a little bit lackluster. It might have been because the sun rose so red and big on the mountain, or because I was feeling energized by the rising warmth in the air. Whatever the reason, I wanted to shoot with the sun behind me, to get that glow that I finally captured. I never shoot in that way, so it was a departure from what I’m used to. Isn’t it incredible how something so small and insignificant as taking a picture in a slightly different way than usual can stir up so many emotions – feelings of doubt and insecurity and excitement?
This month is for trying those new things, both for the experience and to see how I handle them. That is always the trick with trying something new; anyone can do it, but not everyone will handle it the same way. This month I’ve been tweaking the way I work while shooting, editing, and even writing. I’m stretching.
I simply can’t see the point in creating if everything looks the same – but more so, if everything feels the same. If every experience is the same, every image, every explanation, then why? I want to feel new winds at my back, be buoyed by feathers and embrace the uncertainty. I want to know that I am learning every day, that I am becoming someone slightly new and different, and even more strange…because sometimes it seems that anyone who wants to embrace their authenticity is just a little too weird for the day-to-day.
Something as simple as photographing into the sun might seem trivial and banal, and honestly, it is, quite. But for me something so simple represents a shift in the way I think and what possibilities my mind is open to. It excites me because I get a glimpse of the person I might become, and she is free and willing and eager, even in the face of the rising sun…which, by the way, she never would have been okay with even a few months ago.
I wish you lots of growth today. I’m off to shoot my next concept and video and edit that all together, because I’m a day of uploading behind thanks to no Internet and a malfunctioning computer! So, I’ll be back later today with Day 19!
Oye my loves, am I fired or forgiven?! I went road-tripping to Joshua Tree to check out a venue I might use later on, and I didn’t have internet. And then, my computer broke. So, I took that as a cosmic sign (re: excuse) to unplug and have a grand time with my best friend instead of running around trying to find a computer and internet to edit and upload on! I still got up every day at 5am and I beat the sun and did my shoots and made videos, but alas, I am late posting because of the desert situation. I take challenges such as this July creation challenge very, very seriously, so rest assured I did my part. The posting will just be a little bit late. I’m home now, and ready to share Mondays’ image/video!
I was surrounded by beauty, the kind that makes you move slower and appreciate more. The first morning I couldn’t sleep; I was excited to see the sunrise. So, I went outside when it was still dark and took a walk and thought about my concept, which I utterly abandoned in an attempt to be more present and to use what inspiration was surrounding me rather than what I anticipated. I ended up half naked in a bush, which was alright because I was quite utterly alone.
It only dawned on me halfway through my shoot that there was a silent retreat going on at the venue, so I wouldn’t properly know if someone was lurking about, but then again, they couldn’t say anything even if they did see me, so it was all fine.
The sun came up that morning like a ball of red fire spit from the mouth of a dragon. It rose fast and furious and licked the mountain with red that seemed to linger in a streak. I recorded a time lapse of it while I sat on a rock and watched. Before I knew it an hour had passed, and I was entirely alone (so I think) and incredibly at peace. Connected. Beyond connected – at one. Some people love cities and crowds and the excitement that calls out from parties and tall buildings and fast paces. I can’t say I am one of those people. Quite the opposite, I get panicked just thinking about those things. To be alone in nature, that is my calling. That is my bliss.
I think this simple video perfectly reflects the morning I had and the feeling of the image I created from it. I’m so glad I waited to share, as I couldn’t even see the whole image on my laptop and just knew it could be something better if I could just get home and love on it.