I have been enjoying exploring the possibilities that double exposure photography can bring. Initially I experimented with my iPhone to see what I could create. Happily making double exposures with my X-Pro1 is as easy an experience as it is with my iPhone. I like the otherworldliness the images create, the not quite rightness.
I entered the world of double exposures because I was looking for a way to express my world through the lens of living with anxiety. However as I have moved through this world learning about how to create the images I have come to realise that I simply enjoy making them. They will not be the only images I make, rather they will be another tool to express myself, to show the multifaceted elements of my life, with or without anxiety.
For a long time I have found myself captivated when I see brides walking from one location to another in order for their wedding photos to be made. It is the beauty of their dress that catches my attention but that isn’t what keeps it.
I am really taken by what is happening around her. There is usually one or two photographers who direct her, plus the obligatory groom (who I’m rarely interested in) and sometimes the entire bridal party.
In the above case there was also a woman who worked as an assistant to the bride. The voluminous skirts and train were being carried by her when I first saw them. She proceeded to place everything as directed by the photographer, as the bride moved to sit down. I found myself watching her work more than I watched the actual bride. I wondered if she receives the acknowledgment she deserves. Is she paid well? Is she thanked for helping make everything run smoothly and appear perfect?
Perhaps one day I’ll find out the answers to these questions. It wouldn’t be appropriate to enquire whilst an assistant is actually working, so hopefully I’ll come across the answers in another way.
I came across Pebbles when I was wandering around Melbourne looking for things to photograph. She could barely contain her excitement when I crouched down to photograph her. As a one & a half year old Staffy cross, it’s little wonder! Moments after taking this photo she escaped her owners grasp & did her best to clean my face, as apparently it was in need of a tidy 🙂
I have been thinking about photographing dogs. Thinking about different ways to show them in print. Would portraits be best? Or photos of them interacting with their owners, or candid photos of them in their surroundings? I’m not sure yet of which way I’d like take this project although I know it will require lots of trial & error.
A week ago I had the opportunity to try street photography. I enjoyed walking with my camera, talking with a friend & trying to capture what was seeing.
It comes as no surprise to me that I found myself wanting to take photos of dogs in the streets. I love that they get to go out & about with their owners. To me it says a lot about how important dogs are to people. Although if I come across someone walking a cat, rabbit, guinea pig or any other animal & I have my camera in hand then I won’t be able to resist taking a photo of that either! Our relationship with our pets is important. And I certainly won’t judge you if your pet isn’t a dog 🙂
For several months I have been taking photos of my friends during some of our pole fit classes. Initially I began taking photos after badly injuring myself as a way of staying in touch with what was going on at the studio. It quickly became the highlight of my week. I began to realise that I enjoyed taking photos of the everyday going’s on during classes. There are so many ordinary yet beautiful moments taking place. A smile to a friend, shared laughter at a mistake made or celebrating the feeling of ‘getting’ a new & tricky move. All these things & more occur all the time. They may at the time be small moments but as I go through the images I’ve made I realise that collectively they form a bigger narrative. One that shows the beauty in the ordinary moments as women get together to gain strength & fitness through the use of a pole, a Lyra hoop or aerial silks. They also form an unbreakable bond through friendship.
I spent some time trying to discover the best way to visualise my experience of living with anxiety. After looking at different styles of photography and painting I settled on double exposure photography.
Being completely new to the genre I decided to dip my toe in the water through the use of an app for my iPhone. I quickly realised what worked well for my particular style of image making and began making images that I am happy with. This past week I made my first attempt to create double exposures using my Fujifilm camera. The somewhat dire feeling of the landscape I had set out to photograph suited the feeling I am looking to represent.
Yet I don’t think I’ll ever be able to capture just what it is like to experience a panic attack through a single photograph. There is too much going on in my mind when I am overcome by a panic attack. Racing thoughts that cannot be contained, anger quickly turning into destructive thoughts, sheer panic that cannot be contained. Or even when my mind starts racing towards anxiety, but is able to be reclaimed by the remaining non anxious part of my mind. It takes so much mental willpower to control my mind from becoming panicked I am often spent afterwards.
I think the only way I can really express all of this is through words. Perhaps what is needed is a body of work, images interspersed with words, attempting to show just what it feels like. It’s possible that this project won’t work. It’s possible onlookers – especially those who have never experienced mental illness themselves – will never truely understand what it’s like to live with anxiety. Maybe, just maybe however someone will see my work, who themselves has anxiety, and will feel comforted in knowing that someone else feels like they do. If nothing else that’s all that I can hope for. To help someone in some small way.
My third & final favourite photo from 2018 is of my nephew. I am by no means a portrait photographer. Up until mid way last year I got no pleasure out of taking photos of people. However I found myself keen to capture my nephews, partly because toddlers change quickly but also because it’s easier to photograph something you love. I now look forward to photographing them as they grow.
I’m late to following up my last post; I’ve went away for a few days, got home & life caught up with me. Anyhow, returning to the subject of favourite photos from 2018.
This cityscape (is that even the right category? Does that even matter?) was taken on my last day in China which was a Saturday. It is of the Bundt in Shanghai. I love it because it reminds me of my time there, but also because of those clouds. The day prior a typhoon went through Shanghai. I arranged for three of us to experience a half day tour of Shanghai on our last day there & our guide explained we were lucky to see clouds like this. She said the typhoon had blown away the smog usually seen in Shanghai (although she also said that the smog isn’t as bad as it used to be), leaving behind a beautiful sky full of fluffy white clouds.
I also love the juxtaposition of towering buildings overlooking the water on which floats both rickety boats & modern flashy ones. It felt like a true Chinese scene, modernity crashing up against China of old. I hope one day to return; for now my photographs will have to do.
Towards the end of 2018 and in the first days of this new year I (like many other no doubt) found myself flooded with emails and social media posts from a variety of sources urging me to set goals, resolutions and assess the year that was. I usually delete or ignore these. I don’t like making assessments of anything just because everyone says I must. Why that date? Why do it when everyone else is? What’s wrong with looking at my year, my body of work, hell even my current week, whenever I want?
However I decided to read two emails loosely belonging this theme. And I’ve given them some thought. They were both from two photographers whose work I admire and whose work I try to learn from. Their words were encouraging and honest and struck a chord. I have let their words settle in my mind and have decided to look at photos I made during 2018 and pick a few that I like.
Surprisingly almost all of them contain people, which is unusual for me. Normally I stay away from people photography, however towards the end of 2018 I found myself enjoying candid photography. I feel this genre is helping me to become a better photographer and look froward to expanding my skills during this year.