Friday, December 19, 2008
I have always been fascinated by the dark side of things. The other half. The potential for a good thing to go bad. In this project I explored the dark side of things that are typically only associated with good intentions: Jesus, The Garden of Eden, and Mother Earth.
Throughout these staged narratives there are overarching themes of both elemental and religious natures. I only hope to question and evoke, not to insult or undermine anyone's beliefs.
I approached this project with the intent of displaying elements of individuals which they are most self-conscious about. I believe that what we attempt to hide or what we are most vulnerable towards can tell us a lot about an individual. It is these things that are the foundation on which persona is built. A person’s persona is the representation of themselves that they wish to show the world. This can only exist if they want to hide parts of themselves as well.
What interested me most about the three individuals I chose as models was the underlying common thread of scale, specifically the idea of bigness or largeness. Maggie is self-conscious of her breasts, which she feels are too large for her body. As a result, she is constantly aware of their presence and makes specific choices for how to dress and disguise them. Alex is self-conscious of his upper body, particularly his arms, as he feels he is too skinny. As a result he tends to randomly do push-ups throughout the day. Mandrell is self-conscious of his hands, which he feels are oversized as well as being “old man hands” (callused and wrinkled). As a result he doesn’t like to shake hands with new people and he tends to keep them tucked away in his pockets.
For all three models, the process of photographing them at their most vulnerable was a difficult but hopefully positive experience.
Hiro (real name Yasuhiro Wakabayashi) was a progressive fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar during the 1960s and 70s. His photographers are known for their elegance and clean appearance. I was particularly inspired by his use of lighting and shadows, the way he juxtaposed unexpected elements (specifically animals with jewelry), as well as the precise execution of his work. He is also well known for his use of color which I have interpreted as high contrast in the black and white format.
This project allowed me to explore a side of photography which I have stayed very far away from, that of staging and costume. I have always leaned towards documentary or observatory photography and I had to challenge myself to prepare beforehand exactly how I wanted to plan out the shot, what the model should be wearing, and etc. In the end, Hiro’s photographs are striking, dynamic, effortless, and inspiring.