Belated happy Easter/Ostara, everyone! I just treated myself to some weeny ‘egglets’ from Hotel Chocolat. And a new book about a serial killer. Hope you all had a lovely time watching… um… Watership Down. (SERIOUSLY, Channel 5??!)*
Moving swiftly away from dead Easter bunnies; have any of you seen this project? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TyPfYMDK8 If you can’t watch it right now, it’s a man being introduced to six photographers. Separately they are each told a different (false) thing about him: he’s an ex-prisoner, a self-made millionaire, he’s saved a life, he’s a commercial fisherman, a psychic, a former alcoholic. They’re then told to capture the essence of his story in one photo. Of course, each is completely different and you (or certainly I) could tell from many of the photos what the photographer believed. The photographs have illustrated their trains of thought, not a deep truth about their subject.
A common complaint I hear among professional models is hearing a photographer say “don’t pose- I want to capture the real you“. The second anybody at all knows they are being photographed, they pose- even unconsciously; a stiffening of the shoulder, pulling in of the stomach, relaxing of a squint. It is not possible to tell your subject not to pose- especially a model- for those of us who have been modelling for years it is a part of who we are. Certainly for most of us, our modelling name/image is not a character we play for the camera that gets removed with our make-up at the end of a shoot. The pictures below capture different sides of my personality… but you couldn’t have caught both sides at once!
L- Jade Stacy Maria. R-Titus Powell
It isn’t possible to capture a person’s entire essence in a photo even if one moment, one raw emotion, one perfect capture of the way you see them is there. The fact is, we are all multi-faceted but one of those sides is always hidden from us; the way others see us.
On the rare occasion a ‘moment’ is captured in a photograph, it is usually the model alone who sees it. Even when we look at our own faces from the outside, it is our own feelings we recognise- and the significance of the shots may well be lost on the outsider.
The shot below (which many of you will recognise) gives me the shivers. Unless you know why, you are probably more likely to see an amateur model in a particularly half-assed pose with no light in her eyes.
That is why even though a picture may paint a thousand words, those words are often needed. When you know the story from the subjects point of view, you can more easily experience the picture as they do.
I’ve been following the story of a fellow model: Helen Stephens. Helen has epilepsy and has just shaved her head for charity! (Please click this link to hear more about her fundraising and consider supporting her.) Before she did this, she documented moments in her life with epilepsy in order to dispel some of the misconceptions about the condition. The results are fascinating and well worth taking a look at.
The thing is, in order to really experience each picture the way Helen does, you need to read her very eloquent words! A couple of shots in particular show her wearing/doing what I see as a standard dreamy ‘art nude model’ expression/pose (in fact, the expression is similar to a picture of me below). In actual fact, she’s been captured having a seizure!! Yes, you can have ‘blanks’ where you zone out instead of the thrashing fits people associate with epilepsy. (Something new I learned from Helen.) For her, these images evoke strong emotions but the viewer may never know the significance of what they are seeing unless they literally read more into it.
So… pictures! I was experimenting with light and projections with photographer “Symagery“, as well as shooting a few art nudes. When we settled on the perfect pose, it was interesting to see how the mood of the picture changed depending on the images that covered me! I still think they’d make great music album covers! 🙂
I’ve just returned from my biannual South Coast tour- if you didn’t catch me this time, I’ll be back in August.
I spent Easter Weekend itself with one of my best friends and as I’ve just learned to make vegan chocolates I got busy in the kitchen and made these. Salted cashew and marzipan, and pistachio and coconut. 😀
Every single time I see this particular friend, we plan to visit a castle. Every single time our plans get rained off and we end up hanging out with tea, the cat and a ridiculous debate of some kind. This time, it was Batman vs Superman. Better candidates for Batman included Tom Hardy, Karl Urban (who is not Luke Evans. Who knew they weren’t the same person?! Oh right, everyone but me…), the cat, and my mum. Though I am looking at my fire extinguisher at the moment and thinking perhaps it should have made the list…
If you want to wet your pants laughing and don’t care about spoilers, this Guardian reviewer is my new hero. 😉
I’m taking my mum for a belated Mothers Day outing tomorrow so am going to eat my chocolate and read my hopefully creepy book in bed now, so have a good week. More writerly burbling coming soon…
* I think I speak for most of the public when I say that Watership Down is one of the most horrible films ever, BUT… come on, everybody knows it’s notorious for being traumatising so to the legions of parents complaining; read the bloody film description next time! I’m actually finding it hysterical that the TV people thought it was a good idea to show that over Easter! Next up: Nickelodeon’s primetime airing of “When The Wind Blows”. 😛