I took these photos..oh..a million years ago. I'm not a big portrait-taker, I prefer to take landscape, architecture, location-type shots. These were fun to take, though. I need to do more dressing-up these days, as a grown-up. The model in these is Leila. (I just did the color processing of these today, to try out my new Nik Color Efx software. Awesomeness.)
I wanted these to have a sort of dorothy parker, farewell my lovely, noel coward-aesthetic to them.
I became obsessed with Cindy Sherman the first time I heard about her which was, of course, my first semester of college, majoring in Photography at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. (I won't go into, here, why I think majoring in photography was a bad choice for me, just bear with me. It was.)
Cindy Sherman. I think the reason I loved her work so much is that at that point in my life my whole personality was trying desperately to shift--shift into being something that this bigger, cooler, artsier New Yorkier world could embrace. I was trying on a series of costumes. Party Girl, Uptown Intellectual, Bohemian pot-smoker, Party Girl again. Cindy Sherman's work is all about costumes. Its about non-identity at the same time that its about universal identity tropes. Somewhere in there, something rang a bell for me. I was jealous of Cindy Sherman. Artistically and personally stuck, age 19 (and 20 and 21), I connected with the idea of becoming an everywoman of some sort--a film noir actress, a perky, sex-kitten librarian, a booze-soaked Joan-Didion ex-actress rotting away in the Hollywood Hills. These are clearly defined roles, and I wanted one.
But, alas, unless you have the genius of Cindy Sherman to take yourself out of reality and into your own fantasy (or someone else's), you're stuck with you. That's why I find self-portraiture (and portraiture in general) so interesting. Its about identity, always, but it can also be about escapism, or passion, or storytelling, or emotion.
Here are 9 portraits (self and otherwise), taken by some of my favorite Etsy photographers. They speak to a universe of themes, and each one of them, beautiful.
So. Urban exploring. My favorite hobby (I don't consider photography a hobby, otherwise that would win. Obvi.) In case you've never heard of urbexing, here's a the lowdown:
Basically, it involves trespassing into creepy decaying buildings and taking photos (not everyone does the photo part--some people just do it for the thrill and to enjoy the natural beauty.) If you're a risk-taker, you don't get creeped out easily, and you're limber enough to crawl through windows/cracks/whatnot, it's a great hobby. Especially for a photographer. The only real issues one could possibly have with it are a) it involves illegal activity (aka trespassing) // b) the community as a whole is incredibly exclusive and absolutely will not share good info with new-comers, so you have to do a whole lot of research to even find a location to shoot, as well as on possible entry-points and related info (more on this later) // and c) if you watch shows like "ghost hunters" and actually get legit terrified--this is not for you. Most of the locations I've shot at have been abandoned state mental institutions, sanitoriums for tuburculosis patients, and industrial sites. Abandoned psychiatric hospitals can get pretty creepy even if you DON'T believe in ghosts, so you've gotta have a pretty thick skin. Also I've been chased by the cops on more than one occasion (and caught once--but they don't really care as long as you're not trying to tag the place or burn it down.)
So there it is.
I listed three of these photos for sale on etsy today:
I already have a few collections up, including the ones i took at the now-defunct polaroid factory. In my opinion those sets are the most 'fine-art'-ish pictures i've ever taken, and also the only one's I've ever had in gallery shows.
I need to find a new location soon--but I'm running out of places in Mass that I haven't been to, or that haven't been torn down. I'm gonna have to start traveling out of state soon. Darn.
Its polaroid week, so since I can't afford the film anymore (which is a shame seeing that I have three of their cameras), I took the opportunity to scan in some very old polaroids that haven't gotten the attention they deserve:
I took this one in 24 hour party London, which, when I went, was full of mods because I squeezed my trip in RIGHT before nu-rave started becoming meta-popular.
There's a Buddhist center near my house. They have colorful flags.
I'm submitting one or two pieces to CMYK magazine's Top 100 New Creatives #48 competition, photography section. I think my urban exploring photographs are interesting enough to maybe get looked at and not just tossed aside. CMYK is all graphic design and contemp. illustration, so they wouldn't look twice at my pretty pastel Tuscany pics.
So I'm submitting something grittier--like this:
On an unrelated note--I submitted this picture of my Dad to "myparentswereawesome.tumblr.com"
My Dad looked like the kind of guy I would hang out with--drinking guiness, playing scrabble, and arguing about Schopenhauer.
I got this Rollei today (I can't open it until the 14th...damn you childhood traditions). I've been pretty much wandering around in a blissful haze that nobody understands except maybe etsy people. It's a thing of beauty.
Also I was included in a treasury yesterday, which makes my little heart pitter patter: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4be297444bd26d91ff9c8ae5/daydreaming
I've got to turn in my framed photos to the store that I sell at these days--I keep putting it off because its taking 17 million years to get my 10x10 image of chianti framed.
(did I mention this is the first camera I'm getting as the start of my half-sleeve tattoo?)
..so one of my projects back when I was an erstwhile photo major at NYU was this series of bleak landscapes of Coney Island during the winter, when it loses whatever thin veneer of nostalgic charm it usually has and becomes overrun by junkies, passed-out teenagers huffing glue, used condoms, and homeless people freezing to death behind the washed-out signs for sideshow attractions and the ferris wheel.
Oddly enough (sarcasm), I managed make the photos look as cheery as humanly possible. Hey, I like nostalgia...and isn't there enough bleak, depressing imagery about the slow evaporation of the American Dream out there already?
Look! Pretty colors!
I love that I keep finding more of these. Ah, youthful optimism and stubborn love of the purely decorative.
Welcome to my new blog. I thought that maybe I needed a separate blog for my photography, as the previous 'fashion/graphic design/photography/interior design/things i want to buy/comic books' themed blog was getting a little theme crowded. Plus, interest in my photography seems to be growing (er, knock on wood, or whatever) so why not have a place to put my new work.
So here we are.
By the way...my new plywerk print just arrived in the mail today. I'm only vaguely slightly obsessed.
Relatedly: Why is it so goddamned hard to find square frames these days when tons of hipsters are lovingly fondling their Dianas/Holgas/Polaroids/Hasselblads? You'd think that there would be at least some nice place that caters to this clientele, but nooooo. I wasted an hour at Target today looking for square frames, and all I ended up buying was a cheap skirt and a bottle of Gatorade. Not helpful.
But on a brighter note, look at this awesome necklace I scored from etsy:
Pretty sweet, huh?
My birthday is...sometime soon. I dunno...the 14th of May, whenever that is. I'm going to Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge, and getting the start of a vintage-camera-themed half-sleeve. The first camera I'm starting with? A rolleiflex. After that? An Agfa Isolette. A Land Camera. Etc. Etc. It's gonna be badassery.