Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Woods and Nests

For those of you who aren't following me on any social media, today was the day of my photography (film photo I might add) final for summer semester. You are in some luck today, because a good bit of this is copied right from my personal journal. 

We were to create a set of at least eight prints, mounted anyway we chose, that were inspired by a song or poem. From the get go, I had chosen the song "Woods" by Bon Iver as my song, only because of how much sway it held for me mentally. (You can check out this beautiful song here) But I won't lie, I was not expecting this assignment to whoop my ass the entire time. Three failed attempts and unforeseen circumstances later, I finally had a semi working idea/process for it. However, nearly eleven total hours later in the darkroom, I was coming up with nine nowhere near perfect prints and a lot of tearful texting to Daniel and my classmate Shelbie about how I was sure going to fail. I was just not inspired anymore and nothing was working the way I wanted it too. Insert instagram I took during one of my tearful frantic pacings during this time period...yes, that is a bottle of orange juice in the darkroom because I like to live dangerously and I have a really bad cold at the moment. 

Defeated, I put my nine, sad prints in the drying rack and went home, praying to the universe that something would come out alright. Sleep didn't really happen, just fitful tossing and turning. I get to the darkroom today with the rest of my parts for my mount and pulled my prints out to press them flat, only to see that in my over-analyzing panic the night before, they were not as terrible as I had expected now that they were fully dried and done. Not perfect, but not bad. So I set about to finish the piece in time for critique, which was building the mount for the pictures. I created a nest like sculpture to continue with my theme. During this time of adding grapevine twigs, burlap strips, white yarn, and torn photos to the nest, Daniel looked at me and said "Do you have a your brush with you? You could add some of your hair to it." 

I didn't actually have my brush with me, but I held out the scissors to him, pulled a lock of my hair from my head and told him to cut it off. He did with no trepidation, and I took this final touch and wove it into the nest. With each bit, I silently wished for a beautiful assignment and positive feedback, that all my work had not been in vain. Hair is one of the most magically infused things in existence, as it is the embodiment of who we are. You place a strand of hair under a microscope and it could tell you everything about your diet, age, health, etc. What better to wish for personal growth on that who you are? It's not as vain or selfish as you may think. 

Also from the start, I wanted this to be an interactive artwork. Keeping to that, I set up the piece in the classroom with my nine pictures laying on a wooden stool before the nest shaped mount and clothespins hanging from string. As the song played during the pre-critique, I had my classmates one-by-one come up to clothespin any chosen picture somewhere on the mount while I sat and watched. 

I was blown away. Watching this unfold was like watching magic happen. It was in such beautiful sync with the song that the final picture was placed on the mount as the song finished. I wanted to cry. My work came to life with the help of my ten comrades. It was more than I could have expected.

And lo and behold, I received positive feedback not only from my classmates, but my professor as well. Especially on the piece being interactive and my use of double exposure, which hadn't been taught during the semester. I kind of did it on a complete whim and a want to experiment. I left the classroom today with a new feeling of pride, my idea child held tight in my hand.

The day was only made better by watching Owlfish (who had accompanied me into Atlanta today as well) play peekaboo with a random lady on the MARTA train. She was an older woman who was coming from the airport and couldn't have been a nicer person. You almost expect everyone in such places to be guarded and nervous of you each time ("stranger danger"...nobody know show to be nice anymore.) But this woman was great; she spoke of her great-niece to us and Abbie really seemed to enjoy the fact that someone else was talking to her. I left the train feeling happy.

And for those who don't follow, here is an instagram of my final piece, "Nest".

I hope you all had a great hump day!!

("Nest" is an original piece of my own creation. The piece and instagram image is copyright to me and may not be distributed/sold anywhere without my written consent.)

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