The forbidden art

What an emotional crazy day............I was actually brought to tears today as my nude art work was being deleted off Facebook.  Each and every one of those images were censored to meeting their strict guidelines and yet they were still labelled as "offensive nudity" I could not believe it had come to this point where I would have to question everything I do, to the point I was almost ready to throw in the towel.  How is this acceptable in today's modern world?  What year is this ?  Is this how Michelangelo felt when the Pope ordered for the artist's famous nude alfrescos to be painted over to cover up their 'bits' ?  Why is it that we can no longer have the freedom of what we can view on the internet, especially social media and platforms like Facebook   How are we, as humans, supposed to react to the human body now?? what is this censoring telling us ?  Is it disgusting to look at that we can longer look at it ? I'm so lost to how to think about this and how it has affected me is something else, so with that in mind I decided to write about it and hopefully in years to come I can look at this and laugh at this ridiculous time in our history, where the nude body is the forbidden art on social media.

It's interesting to think and wonder, what will the art world look like in 20, 50 100 years from now?  will we look back at this time and laugh at how ridiculous it all was? or will it create something bigger and or much scarier where we have a world of repressed and controlled art, a world where there is no freedom in expression through art?  With art aside, what about the psychological affects as to how we should view the human body?  

Social media is huge and growing by the minute, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are flooded with images by the incomprehensible amount every single day.  It's a platform for sharing our thoughts and our pictures, whether they are personal or for business, it's obvious it is a part of the lives of millions of people.  The control of those pictures lays in the hands of a business, powerful enough to promote or delete what ever they see fit.  What sort of message does this give to the millions who over time will be deprived of art where the human body is shown?  I have no doubt it will send some kind of message and it's not a positive one.

I have always for as long as I can remember struggled with my own body and the way I look, I know that's not an uncommon feeling amongst us humans, regardless of whether we are a man or a woman, we see our imperfections and use them as ammunition against ourselves.  I have no doubt that I was not born with these thoughts, and that time through social interaction as a child where I was laughed at for being bigger than the other kids in my class, my height and my weight, (I LOVE FOOD) and then the teen years with all the social and media propaganda of the 80s and 90s.  I had my struggles and still do.  Yes it's a thought that once you can love yourself you can love others, but for me it was the other way around.  I loved photographing the vulnerability and the rawness of the human body, I was mainly drawn to women because I guess that's where I struggled with myself as a woman.  I drew beauty and strength from each and every woman I photographed.  I could only see beauty and simplicity in every shape and curve and wanted to express it in whichever way I found it in my creative self to express, it was what I was seeing and feeling in the beauty of the human and sometimes within the environment, for me this was my art.  On a personal level it was my therapy to learn to love myself, I still struggle that one.  I find it easier to love what I see, photographs have become so important to me I can not even begin to imagine what it would be like without them.  They are my treasures, each and everyone of them, the ones that I make and more so the ones I receive from those I hold close to me. 

I have been encouraged by the wonderful response I have received in the past for my work, both by peers and people on social media, by their kind words, and by the numerous purchase of my prints.  It made me happy that I was capturing beauty from what was already there and creating something I call art.  Being recognised around the world for my work as been absolute honour and I am still having to pinch myself when I think how amazing it has been the last couple of years starting with my series "Human Nature" which has not only sold the most number of prints but has also won first place in fine art nudes at the prestigious International Photography Awards in 2015 http://www.photoawards.com/winner/zoom.php?eid=8-95106-15.  Also, first place at the 2016 International La Grande Awards as well as the overall Professional Photographer of Year title which was a huge honour and most of all a further acknowledgment that my work was interesting and engaging enough to call art in the form of photographs. 

This sort of encouragement and reinforcement is without a doubt the driving force for me to continue when I have my doubts, without it I feel like there is no point in making it if I can't share it, what am I trying to do if I can't show what I do? yes it still gives me satisfaction to make the work but what a great shame if I can't share it, it's my form of expression and existence.  Yes, I exist and I am here right here right now.  I once read a great book by Rod Judkins, 'The art of creative thinking', I have read it a few times now, it reminds me of why I do the things I do and frees me up when I have a creative block.  He has a chapter in his book called 'surprise yourself' where he says 'you may not realise it, but you have an interesting story to tell.  A must hear tale. We all do.  A struggle against illness, family hardship, poverty or a sudden breakthrough moment.  Whether we are aware of it or not, our life is our subject matter, and freeing up our memories allows us to surpass ourselves and learn about our personalities  and what makes us so unique'   and that is just the first paragraph, so true.   Frida Khalo was a great example of this as the book goes on to discuss.  

I don't usually openly talk about my thoughts it's usually only kept for private discussions with the people I trust, however on this occasion I felt it would not only calm me and fresh my thinking but I think it is important to discuss.  It's happening, this thing called the 'forbidden art' it's going to become a part of modern art history.  How I embrace it from my little position on the planet is something I will need to discover as I weave my way through it, but for now I will continue to make photographs expressing the way I see beauty in the human body and I will continue to share them where ever I am permitted. 

 I can not wait for 2017, I think it will be amazing !!!  So here's to 2016 and your stupid rules, you're now history :)

Feel free to comment your views on the "forbidden art" 

Love and peace (and all that good stuff) 

LORI :)

©Lori Cicchini 2016 "Nude Flow"

©Lori Cicchini 2016 "Nude Flow"

Another World - Underwater

As an enormous fan of the popular series Game of Thrones, I am very excited for the new season commencing April 6, however, may I add, I am not a huge fan of the famous quote -

 

The southern hemisphere has just moved into Autumn 2014 and the temperatures have already commenced to decline, the days are definately becoming shorter as daylight breaks much later, (notice I don't specify the time of morning, that's because I don't really know, I just know its still dark when the alarm goes off at 6.30am and I hide myself back under the pillow for a wee bit longer).  

So enough about that, I've gone off on a tangent :) The real reason for this introduction is to remind myself that my biggest love of Summer, is becoming less available, and that is my love of the water and getting in it for a swim :(........  However, this last Summer has awaken my desire to photograph under water, and with that desire I finally went out and purchased a housing for my camera.   Yeah yeah, it was after much research and procrastination that I took my first baby steps.  

 

The first attempt in the water was extremely educational, I had researched a number of underwater photographers and thought - "Well that looks relatively easy!! " hahahahaha what an understatement !!! easy it was definitely not!!!

 

I thought I was prepared for all sorts of conditions.  I had inspected the pool before hand and asked the appropriate questions about the best time of day for the pool to be in full sun, I wanted the light to be natural and beam into the pool from above onto my model.  The pool lining was a light blue colour so, understanding that there would be colour casts it would be beneficial to help reflect the light back up to the subject, and of course I could colour correct later in post.  Sounds pretty good so far.  Of course I had a backup plan as well, what if it get's cloudy and the sun is diffused, not allowing for the intensity of light I was expecting ??? Well Plan B - bring some flash to use on a boom over the subject to emulate the sun.  Great plan!! Yes, I would fire the flash from my transmitter mounted on my camera from beneath the surface.   Welllllllllll, I managed to successfully fire off some shots but occasionally the clouds did prove to be a bit of a nuisance, blocking off the sun, and the pool was slowing becoming shaded as the sun shifted.  Out comes Plan B ...... tanaaaaaaaaa !!! because I'm not a technical genius it took a fews to realise, that the frequency waves from the transmitter were never going to reach the receivers on the flash units, the radio waves don't travel through water !!!! ahahahahaha excellent - Plan B was an epic fail !!!

But there was a Plan C - Plan C was to move quickly to get best use of the sun while we had it :)

The other hindering element to this first shoot was the quality of the water, it wasn't exactly the clearest, it was a bit murky and I didn't do a very good job of cleaning the pool floor, there was too much I still hadn't prepared for.  

But besides all of that we had some fun and I still managed some shots that were worthy of publication on the Vogue Italia website, but now the challenge was on for improvement !!

Model - Anne Duffy  HMUA & Underwater Assistant - Lauren Cataldo

Model - Anne Duffy 

HMUA & Underwater Assistant - Lauren Cataldo

The distortion added an element of interest to the images creating a painterly effect, I particularly like the way it blended a flow of the fabric, the image has been enhanced in post production.

 

ATTEMPT NUMBER 2

 

This time I was prepared for the lighting scenario.  The pool was an indoor pool, the lining was a sapphire blue, which was darker than the last pool and I knew that unless I had artificial light, we were not going to get a lot happening in terms of exposure.  

The housing I am using is the Ikelite unit, although it is rated highly, I still max out on the stress levels just as I am about to submerge.  :)   This time I have also taken my flash with me under the water.  It worked a treat, the lighting was ethereal, and it was a great step forward from the last shoot.  My biggest hurdle this time was staying submerged :), just as well there were some free weights from Matty's gym set that I managed to use as weights tucked into my board shorts, not really flattering or anything that I would allow anyone to have ever photographed me in !!! It looked absolutely ridiculous, but EFFECTIVE!!!!

And this is what we got this time ::

Model - Bernadette Jury HMUA & Underwater Assistant - Lauren Cataldo 

Model - Bernadette Jury

HMUA & Underwater Assistant - Lauren Cataldo 

This was Bernadette's first time being photographed underwater, I have photographed Bernadette before, however this is an entirely different environment, with a plethora of obstacles challenging us through out the shoot.  The biggest challenge is the limited time, as we hold our breath, communication was without a doubt the most important, knowing what to do and not to do as a model in order to still look elegant and portray the look we were after.  Bernadette did a fabulous job !!! 



As we become more confident, we added a second subject to the scene, changed the setting a little and ...... yay in comes Lauren like a guardian angel :)  I love how these underwater images are so calm and ethereal :)

"The Search"

 

"I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life.  It never crossed my mind that that person could be me" -Anna Quindlen

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"Dissolution"


 "We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our own body, which is doomed to decay and dissolution and which cannot even do without pain and anxiety as warning signals: from the external world, which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless forces or destruction; and finally from our relations to other men.  The suffering which comes from this last source is perhaps more painful than any other." {Sigmund Freud}

 

This was the first time I had worked with Brodie Williams, but it seemed like we had worked a million times before as as we clicked immediately.  It was going to be a huge day for both of us as we were flying this one solo.  It was just Brodie and I on this day, and our aim was to knock over two themes for the series.  I did all the hair, makeup and styling for this one and for the image titled "Burden" where I also made the props. 

Once we shot Burden we took a brief break, and plunged straight into the next shot which was going to be on location.  I had scouted this spot for ages, it was not too far away and was perfect.  The afternoon sun was beginning to drop and the light coming through the trees was going to provide the perfect dapple in the background on the overgrown stairs.  

IN no time we had set up the shot and fired ..... this was now "Dissolution".  When I got back to my computer to download the images, it was so obvious which one was THE shot, Brodie has given all the emotion I had asked for in perfect timing for the shot.  The tear rolling down her cheek was what completed the depth I wanted.  Thank you Brodie - you nailed it girl !!!

The cropped version :

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Dissolution.jpg

"Reborn"

"“I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess.
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing:Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.” 

Rene Daumal
 

This was the very first image I shot in the series, it holds a very special place as it is the  essence of where I became who I am and where I stand today, this is where I realised I was in fact reborn, giving myself a second chance, at life and I have learnt to live.  

Jeanice my dear friend, and model for this image was going to be the perfect candidate as she approached the final stages of her pregnancy I wanted to include this precious time as it is the symbol of death of an old life and the rebirth of a new.  Since we made this image, Jeanice has given birth to the beautiful Rosie Jean earlier this month.  

When we planned to shoot this piece, I had planned to do it outside, however the weather on that day was not on our side so I had no choice but to set it all up in my living room.  This meant bringing in a large black sheet as a tarp, a few bags of soil and numerous branches of trees starting to bloom from outside.  It got kind of messy.  We also shot another image which involved water, that was really messy !!!

With the help of Lauren who also did the hair and makeup, we setup the shot and achieved this beautiful interpretation of "Rebirth".

 

The set up in my living room

The set up in my living room

"Reborn" Photography | Concept | Editing - Lori Cicchini  Model | Jeanice Branch HMUA | Lauren Cataldo

"Reborn"

Photography | Concept | Editing - Lori Cicchini 

Model | Jeanice Branch

HMUA | Lauren Cataldo

"Exposure"

"Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of mean as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing".

Helen Keller

 

So many situations in life exposure our vulnerability, some leave us the wiser others can tear into our souls.  I found making this image was a reflection of certain moments where I questioned that vulnerability often picking myself up with a new layer of caution, creating a side of me I am not always aware of. 

 

Initially when thinking about the location for this shot I had imagined a baron place, but when I was shown this location I knew it was to be the place.  Early on a Sunday morning we prepared for the shoot, setting up the location before the sun was up too high.  The lighting was a simple setup with a beauty dish and PC reflector, the gentle breeze was an added bonus.

I wanted to have an eeriness to the image, a possessed witch like figure floating in the dark forrest, protecting herself from the crows around her. 

 

 

 

 

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iphone pics - BTS

iphone pics - BTS

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working the image in post production

working the image in post production

Photography | Creative Director | Concept | Costume Design | Post Production - Lori Cicchini Model - Anne Duffy HMUA _ Lauren Cataldo BTS Video - Pat Lindley

Photography | Creative Director | Concept | Costume Design | Post Production - Lori Cicchini

Model - Anne Duffy

HMUA _ Lauren Cataldo

BTS Video - Pat Lindley

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"The Wait"

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact it may be necessary to encounter defeat, so that you know who you are, what you are rising from, how you can still come out of it" _ Maya Angelou 


Photographer | Creative Director | editing - LORIANA | fotografia
Model | Ilana Davies - Model
HMUA | Lauren Cataldo 
Hair Pieces created by | "Guerilla Hair"
BTS Video - Pat Lindley 

 

This was a crazy little episode, I had decided to shoot two of the images from the series on this day, that was a crazy idea in itself hahahahaha.  

I have photographed Ilana before so we worked together really well, and to my advantage it meant Ilana knew what to expect from me too.  Lauren did her usual magical thing with her makeup styling and hair artistry.  Jeanice comes to the rescue with her custom made wigs and pieces, always made to perfection.  I can not ask for a better team, and to add to it all I have met a wonderful creative who is working with me for the first time by recording some BTS footage of some of the shoots we did in the series.  I'll be writing up a post about the video too.  

The location was in the back of my mind for some time now, I had inspected it back in the Summer, earlier in the year, I knew it had to be shot here as it had the eeriness I wanted from it's abandoned buildings, and overgrowth of thorny bushes.  We arrived on location a little late, we were running behind from the schedule we had in place, in fact we had one hour to set and shoot, which given the amount of stuff we had to carry to the location from the car and set up the lighting and props, was not a lot of time, thankfully the hair and makeup was done in the studio.

All set, the cobwebs were blowing in the breeze, Ilana was looking her usual angelic self, the skeleton was doing his bit just sitting there, and away we went.  The sun was beginning to set so the light was perfect, in my head I was playing the song by COLDPLAY, "In my place" it reminded me so much of where I was in my life, and the sentiment it had on me, nothing could be more true than "The Wait" for me :)

The Wait Model - Ilana Davies Hair & Makeup - Lauren Cataldo Hair Pieces - Jeanice Branch BTS Video - Pat Lindley

The Wait

Model - Ilana Davies

Hair & Makeup - Lauren Cataldo

Hair Pieces - Jeanice Branch

BTS Video - Pat Lindley

"The Puppet"

“You’ve thrown down the gauntlet. You’ve brought my wrath down upon your house. Now, to prove that I exist I must kill you. As the child outlives the father, so must the character bury the author. If you are, in fact, my continuing author, then killing you will end my existence as well. Small loss. Such a life, as your puppet, is not worth living.
But… If I destroy you and your dreck script, and I still exist… then my existence will be glorious, for I will become my own master.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

 

My destiny is my own journey, my journey unique to me, the puppet tied to the puppet master, at some point I must be free.  The location for this shoot was on a private property, tucked away in the hills of vineyards and farm land, the tree was perfect as my puppet master, the model Anne Duffy, was strung up to the puppet master leaving her restricted by her limited movements, the puppet master standing strong and tall but does not move.

 

The costume is made up of a chiffon flowing skirt, gold coated roses.  The shoulders were constructed from red feathers and moulded to the shoulder.  The head piece a stiffened lace finished with hundreds of beads.

The costume is made up of a chiffon flowing skirt, gold coated roses.  The shoulders were constructed from red feathers and moulded to the shoulder.  The head piece a stiffened lace finished with hundreds of beads.

The lovely model for the puppet shoot was Anne Duffy.

The lovely model for the puppet shoot was Anne Duffy.

Hair, Makeup and feather styling by Lauren Cataldo :)

Hair, Makeup and feather styling by Lauren Cataldo :)

"The Puppet" © Lori Cicchini 2013

"The Puppet" © Lori Cicchini 2013

"Temptation"

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

 

BTS of "Temptation"

BTS of "Temptation"

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©2013 LORIANA

Photography | Editing | Concept - Lori Cicchini

Model | Sekar Pare   MUA | Jay Harris   Hair | Lauren Cataldo   Snake | Zoe 

"Burden"

"Encouraging people to live their own truths is a great gift, encouraging others to live your truth is a huge burden" - Zantamata Doe

 

Truth, what is it? fact or fiction ?

I often ask myself many questions, some are never meant to be answered, others need substance to given direction, many become retorical and are confirmation or a statement.  

In the making of "Burden" there were many elements considered, I wanted it to give a sense of tension and mystery.  We often hide our burdens, some do it better than others, the backbone to our ability to move forward in many situations can ride on the fact of how well we hide from the truth, for some it is the unravelling of their existence.

 

 

For this image I made the skirt from gold organza.

For this image I made the skirt from gold organza.

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On this occasion I also did the hair and makeup on the lovely Brodie Williams - we had a bit of fun playing around with the styling - up - down - in - out ... finally it was settled ....

On this occasion I also did the hair and makeup on the lovely Brodie Williams - we had a bit of fun playing around with the styling - up - down - in - out ... finally it was settled ....

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"The Feast"

 

Proverbs

9:1-6:

 

 

 

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
"Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding."

 

 

An afternoon of designing a table setting in Renaissance style was a task bigger than I first anticipated.  Ensuring the symbolic pieces came together and fitted with the surroundings and colour palette I had planned.  With my trusty model, who of course did everything I asked of her, a number of times, was so patient and obliging.  We had to get the composition down packed and synced with the smoke and the pose, just as well we are both patient for the perfect shot :)

We set this one up in my studio alongside the big window, I wanted it to be soft natural window light for this image, we didn't have much time to line it all up as the light was shifting quickly and we had another shot to wrap up after this one.

The Feast has so many meanings to me, it challenges the way I think about the many journeys I have made and those I need to make, the people I have met and the impact they have had, good and bad.  

Nobody knows, nobody sees ..... Powderfinger - Nobody Sees 

 

 

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Arrangement made by me for "The Feast"

Arrangement made by me for "The Feast"

We are not random - "Beauty"

Romans 1:20 - "Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and preceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse. "

The theory of beauty and nature - Phi is a mathematical number of approximately 1.618 whose mathematical formula appears in structures of nature and also mapped in the defining maths of beauty (The Golden Rule).  The tail of a seahorse is a mathematical formula as are seashells and all flowers, plants and snail shells.  1.618 shows that our universe was intelligently designed, not a cosmic co-incidence.  Science or something else ?? I am not questioning it's ultimate origin, rather, I am interested in that we not are random.

The question then extends to Beauty, an age old obsession, what is beauty?  Does it manifest? is it inherent? how do we describe the beauty within that is not tangible? 

When I was thinking about making this image, I was asking myself all these questions and chose the snail to represent Phi, it has significance to me and regularly occurs as an item in my dreams, is it my subconscious? and representation of something important to me or is it a manifest?

All I can say is that in reality, snails gross me out, deeply !!! I went hunting for snails for this shoot one day after the rain, I only managed to find one, I kept him captive in a plastic container, regularly feeding him and cleaning out his poop, it was gross enough, but it also gave me more to think about in the meantime. 

This song - The Reason by Hoobanstank was also inspiration to the making of this theme - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV4DiAyExN0

When I first starting talking to Anne (the model) about this shoot, I was a bit hesitant to mention the snail bit, I didn't want to scare her off, worst case scenario I photoshop the snails in, however, I was keen to keep it all in camera as much as possible, keep it real - beauty and the slug..... ewwwwww it still grosses me out.  Well I'm pleased to say Anne was all for it, she even collected the props - wooohooooo Anne!! 

We had so much fun shooting this theme, we decided to set it up on the floor so we had a better chance of the snails actually staying in some sort of position, although I did have a setup in mind and knew where I wanted them to be, it was a matter of firing off a number of shots, you would think that snails are usually described as slowwwwwww, well on this day, they were like little "road runners" sliming all over the place.  As for Anne's skin, well, she finished up with an extra "gleaming" complexion by the end of it :) 

 

PS : No snails were harmed in the making of this image :) 

 

 

 

My dog Buddy, found the snails fascinating, almost tempted to eat one - he's so gross ewwwwwwww!!! 

My dog Buddy, found the snails fascinating, almost tempted to eat one - he's so gross ewwwwwwww!!! 

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The team that brings the image to life ... Anne Duffy my courageous and skillful model (keeping a straight face with slimy creatures all over your face is a SKILLand as far as I am concerned, COURAGEOUS!!) and Lauren Cataldo my talented friend - whose makeup skills were kept very clean and simple in this particular shoot :)

The team that brings the image to life ... Anne Duffy my courageous and skillful model (keeping a straight face with slimy creatures all over your face is a SKILLand as far as I am concerned, COURAGEOUS!!) and Lauren Cataldo my talented friend - whose makeup skills were kept very clean and simple in this particular shoot :)

Thew finished image ........ "Beauty"

Thew finished image ........ "Beauty"

A screen shot from my computer - in post production.

A screen shot from my computer - in post production.

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"The Awakening"

Is our existence real or is it all a dream??   The hours, days weeks and years roll on so quickly.  Someone once said to me, "Time stands still for no man" and this is true, it is a moment that cannot be rewound, once it's gone its gone.  

 "There is no greater mystery than this, that we keep seeking reality, although we are reality.  We think there is something hiding reality and that this must be destroyed before reality is gained.  A day will dawn when you will laugh at all your past efforts.  That which will be the day you laugh is also here and now."  Ramana Maharashi

 

The awakening was made one late afternoon after shooting another theme for the series, the idea of realisation came to me, after a phone call I had received earlier in the week that no matter what we intend to do, the environmental factors beyond our control ultimately dictates the direction, how we react to the external factors is then the choices we make.  Direction is time, and time stands still for no man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYU9FV8Wxc8

 

The Awakening - Model - Courtney Anne Martin-Moores Hair & Makeup - Lauren Cataldo Broncolor - Para 1.6m ISO 100 f9 1/160

The Awakening -

Model - Courtney Anne Martin-Moores

Hair & Makeup - Lauren Cataldo

Broncolor - Para 1.6m

ISO 100 f9 1/160

Progress of "Slumber Awakening"

Well it seems as if it has been a month since I last posted about this series, it's not to say nothing has been happening though :)  

In the past few weeks it has been a frantic panic to line up the crew involved in the number of shoots, as well as organising and making props, gowns and costumes.  I have been overwhelmed with the level of support I have received from the wonderful community around me, so many people keen to work with me on this personal journey and the project that it has translated to.  

Over the last few days I have had the joy of culling and choosing the image which will represent the idea I started the journey of capturing, I have to say it hasn't been an easy task.  I love so many of them, I found the best way to do this is cull and then leave it, come back to it later and cull again.  Some have made it down to 2 or 3 others have a long way to go :)

Today I started the post processing of one of the images, and wanted to write about the behind the scenes stuff we rarely get to show.    I wanted to start with the image titled "The Journey", seems appropriate that I should start with that one.  

Life is no doubt journey, a temporary pass to existence.  In that journey we encounter so many battles, some turn out well others not so promising.  Last night I dreamt of my dad, he rang me and we had a conversation, however I don't remember what we spoke about, all I remember is that I heard him call my name, it was his voice, so vivid, so clear..... and then I woke, for a moment I believed it actually happened, but then it hit me, it was a dream and that I would never hear his voice again.  I used to have a phone message of his stored on my phone, often I would play it and cry remembering his soft voice, it was so soft I often couldn't hear what he was saying, he was always so calm and patient.  

I was compelled to go visit his grave this morning, I don't know whether it was the dream or something else, I just felt that I couldn't start the day without going there first, so I did.  As I drove there, I thought of how when I first talk about my dad, the very first thing I think of how he was always there for me, he protected me and always listened to my woes without judgement.  This was a man who, after I took his car from the garage for a joy ride with my best friend, (when I was supposed to be at school) and smashed the front end into a rock wall, he turned to me and said " Don't worry about the car, as long as no one was hurt, don't worry about your mum I'll sort her out" and he then went on to tell Mum he smashed the car himself and wore the wraith.  

Anyway, why am I writing about my dad? well I guess it's where my journey begins, I just wish he was here to see it, maybe he does from where ever he is, I would like to think so. :)

 "The Journey" is an interpretation of life in it's simplest form, there are elements I have included in the image which mean something to me, as the viewer it may give you an insight to me or perhaps draw upon something else depending on your own experiences.  

This image is a preview to the final selected image - I liked this one as it is clearly a fun one with my beautiful support girl Lauren.  Miss Lauren has been by my side throughout this journey with this series, she also features in it as a muse.... I look forward to showing "The Feast" where she looks like the Goddess that she is to me :) 

I have included some behind the scenes images to show the work that goes behind making one single image.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress I made for the shoot, lace over satin and tulle.  The wings are a symbol of flight and freedom, white being pure and gold being precious. 

The dress I made for the shoot, lace over satin and tulle.  The wings are a symbol of flight and freedom, white being pure and gold being precious. 

Lauren doing her creative thing, love those bling eyebrows!!! and Monique wore them well :) 

Lauren doing her creative thing, love those bling eyebrows!!! and Monique wore them well :) 

The headpiece I made brings it altogether, Monique looks like an angel :) 

The headpiece I made brings it altogether, Monique looks like an angel :) 

The location for the shoot - in amongst nature as humans we translate and integrate into our surroundings whether it is natural or man made - it is our landscape.

The location for the shoot - in amongst nature as humans we translate and integrate into our surroundings whether it is natural or man made - it is our landscape.

Preparing for the shot - model _ Monique Pashfield Hair and makeup - Lauren Cataldo  

Preparing for the shot - model _ Monique Pashfield

Hair and makeup - Lauren Cataldo  

A preview to "The Journey" 

A preview to "The Journey" 

Props and wardrobe underway

My sewing machine has kicked the bucket, dammit !!! Looks like hand stitching till I get a replacement one.  The wardrobe is becoming more and more intricate, I really shouldn't go out on my own, I tend to spend too much time thinking about stuff and ofter wonder how I got from A to B as I'm sure I've blacked out into lala land.   

I drove out to the fabric warehouse this morning, I really should get myself out to Cabramatta (put that one on the list) - Dubai would be nice too :)  anyhow, I always seem to walk out of Spotlight with arm fulls more than what I intended to purchase, but I can't help being distracted by all the ideas that float into my head when I pick up a roll of fabric - yeah OK I'm a little nutts :) 

On the way back, I went to check on a couple of locations I had found a few weeks back, just to look at what it was like mid morning, looks like I am going to have to shoot there early morning to get the best light. Best remember to not wear my good boots when I go there again, besides the mud the sheep poo poo was a little hard to avoid, man that stuff stinks :) 

Finally finished the props for tomorrow's shoot, pig skulls stink too !! 

 

18 september.jpg

Coming together of "Slumber Awakening"

With over 30 themes, and growing, my new series is starting to take shape.  When researching my ideas I realised that I was really looking for my identity, my presence, my past and some insight perhaps into my future.  It is an expression of where I am today, a journey of life unravelling the truth through my dreams.  I often think about dreams, and question if they reflect my inner thoughts, beliefs, and/or feelings?  How do they translate in real life, do they predict? or do they tell us something about ourselves? How do we fit in the space in which we exist? Does the space influence our existence??

I recently watched a documentary on landscape photography which also made me realise that if we destroy nature we destroy ourselves.  Undoubtably, in my mind, the landscape defines who we are and how we relate to the universe we exist in.   I wanted to photograph something with conviction, not just about beauty, it needed to appeal to my personal style.  

Over the 12months I have experimented through ideas in portraiture and fashion, I pushed myself in directions I felt totally outside of my comfort zone and discovered attributes of my work that I have begun to thoroughly enjoy.  There is no doubt I'm a bit of a control freak, always thinking of plan A as well as plan B, sometimes option C, carefully and meticulously planning out the theme, right down to set design, costume and props.  My stories need to be believable yet still with the element of surrealism, mystery and fantasy.  Music plays an integral part in my processing, both in concept and in post.  It influences the mood and the direction.

What is my style ?? I had to ask myself the question, then I needed to ask my peers, people around me who follow my work.  In the past 12 months I was on a discovery of what that style might be.  I started with landscapes in my earlier days, like many who are attracted to the art of photography, I wanted to capture what I saw with my eyes, but not necessarily in a literal sense.  I am drawn to architecture as much as I am to nature, but it is the beauty within the geometry of the architecture within the landscape that appeals to me most.  It is the symmetry of shape and the mystery of stillness combined.   I call this symmetry and mystery - beauty, how we see it is a response to the environment it is surrounded by.  

So what is my style ? I would describe it as dark, fantasy, mystical, surreal and often with a touch of ethereal goth.  It is a play on fantasy verses reality finding beauty in darkness.

I thought the best way to express the series is with a cover image, something that would give off a vibe to the story, yet still maintain the mystery of what is to come ....... here is the invitation to my "Slumber Awakening" 

  

Once upon a time .......... starting a new body of work

As the weeks pass I fill myself with anxiety, so many ideas floating in my head and a tight deadline to meet.  With the opportunity to exhibit my work in a prominent location I need to decide where to focus my attention, time is running out arghhhhhhhhh. I have commenced a new body of work which looks at reality vs fantasy.  It's an intricate journey through life from a woman's point of view, I envisage this series to continue for some time into 2014.

I’ll be heading out to a one of my all time favourite places in Australia in a couple of weeks for a 3 day shoot.  If you know me well enough you will know where this special location is ;)

I haven’t been there for almost a year and am really looking forward to it.  This time I’m bringing along 2 models, both of which are also amazing makeup artists and stylists in their own rights.  Oh man, this is going to be one huge creative weekend, I can’t wait to begin - oh!!! I forgot there will also be a special guest joining us on location, he’s going to add so much fun to the shoot I can just see it already :)  

My visual diary is beaming with drawings and plans for each of the images I plan to create whilst out that weekend.   Today I collected another prop and really need to get into some sewing el pronto!!!  I will be posting some behind the scenes pics, and some sneak peeks of the props as I prepare them in the next few weeks leading up to the shoot - so stay tuned  :)