A theme I entertain often or, visit, is self identity. Its a universal process we all struggle with. Some on a regular basis, some more than others. Each individuals experience with the journey(s) varies to a wide degree. I have personally seen the process make and break lives. This varied, unpredictable nature is what draws me to this complex subject.
My own adventure through discovering myself is one I choose to believe is constantly evolving. I find a quote from Chuck Palahniuks “Invisible Monsters” to describe it best, ” We have to keep constantly recycling ourselves. ” Every new bout with self identity requires you to take yourself apart. Rebuild from the rubble, being sure to keep the things you learned from the previous identity. Thus recycling in full circle.
This sometimes vicious circle can force you to touch base with a range of emotions. I am a emotionally charged and motivated person. So taking these little journeys is something I enjoy. Coming out the other end wearing a different skin is the main draw for me.
Now I don’t want confusion that this is a physical change every time. It can lead to that and has before but this is a core change I’m talking about. Yet it tends to almost always manifest itself in some degree in the physical. Right in this realm is where I get to play with the idea of self identity.
I have never attempted to explore this idea with anyone other than myself. I find this to be the most appropriate. It is SELF identity after all. not self identity through the eyes of another….that’s a whole different beast. I have found every attempt at exploring this idea with my camera and myself to be a bit medicinal. I experience the same feeling as when you put yourself into any form of self expression, a sense of relief and pride.
Not by accident, I dive into these projects when I need them. We all have our devices to help achieve clarity. Art is mine. Photography in particular.
A common occurrence in these photos is distortion of the face. Be it mask, stocking, digital effect etc. The reason for this is that the face is the main tool of physical expression we have. Its also the main difference we all have from one another. Our faces are a pivotal part in creating our identity physically to others as well as ourselves. I distort this important piece to help portray the inner struggle becoming outward. To help convey that metamorphosis from one identity to the next.
I have taken multiple sets expressing these same steps of change throughout my life. I even have paintings showing the same ideas. From previously before I discovered photography. I use them as a illustrated diary. I can look back at them all and remember the who’s, what’s ,where’s, when’s and how’s . They are very personal projects to me for obvious reasons.
I wont climb any further into specifics of what they mean to me. I allow any of the questions you may have further regarding these to be answered by you. They are for your eyes to feast upon and mind to stir about. There must always be room for the viewers personal interpretation. I’ll provide the visual, if you’ll provide the emotional.
I hope you enjoy this batch of photos as much as I do.
Tomorrow, Friday the 13th not only brings us shenanigans hoopla and strange happenings. It also brings us the hip shaking, foot stomping release from Juana Ghani. Tomorrow “Shall We Live Forever” will be available to hold in your hands. I consider this a perfect opportunity to shine the light on a group of wonderful people and musicians.
I have had multiple opportunities to point my camera in their direction in a live setting. Live music is one of the most exhilarating things for me to shoot. To be able to capture an entertainer or group of entertainers doing what they love is a great honor. The energy I get to feed off of from a mixture of the performers and the crowd alike is my favorite aspect. You get a certain brand of adrenaline running around trying to fit all this life into a single frame. Not only is it a great challenge to freeze moments, but lighting can also be a challenge. Both of which I wouldn’t have any other way. It makes uploading that batch of photos much more fulfilling. Nothing matches the personal satisfaction of having felt the energy of the show. Then looking at a photo you took that has successfully frozen all that into a moment that can be looked at forever.
That being said. I have honestly never shot in a more powerfully potent environment then that of a Juana Ghani concert. They make my job have a certain amount of ease to it. 13 band members can help that fact. Always presenting some sort of animation to point the camera at. That number also helps contribute to the energy level being projected into the audience. Which is really what makes my job easy, the intensity. I get lost in a unique state . All that get-up-and-go being projected allows me to share the same vigor.
If you have never had the opportunity or for some reason have not been able to make it to see Juana Ghani, do it! You CAN NOT substitute the experience with that of another concert. There is loads of zip, zeal, zest and zing bursting from the venue!
Any Juana Ghani show offers a great bang for your buck but Fridays show at Bar Deluxe offers much more than your average serving of Juana. A magically talented group of dancers and belly dancers alike can usually be seen when attending. However this show is in cooperation with The Underground G.y.p.s.y Cabaret, as has become tradition for every Friday the 13th. The UGC has your usual beautiful belly dancers that are joined by other dancers performing different unique variations of dance, a magician, sword swallowing, and more madness! Its as if a band of gypsies have parked their wagon just outside and your lucky enough to be invited to join them.
That last sentence is important because that is the environment they build for you. Its not like your going to a venue, handing a doorman your money, standing shoulder to shoulder, room full of strangers, enjoying the music. No. Its as if you’ve been transported to a entirely different space. Surrounded by hundreds of friends and family. Singing, dancing, whooping and hollering together. Almost as if you’re all off in a distant space around a bon fire, collectively. There is a strong sense of family and unity that can be found in the air. Which when breathed in gives all in attendance a sense of belonging.
I am so appreciative and thankful for a group of musicians and performers who not just aspire to create such an experience but excel in delivering it. All of their individual efforts being put forth is an amazing gift they are offering to anyone. The time they put into organizing, rehearsing and entertaining us is greatly appreciated. Its all available to us for a small price as well. I believe tickets for tomorrow’s cabaret are $7. Do the math and you’ll soon come to the conclusion, its not for the money, its the love of it.
There is many paragraphs more I could fill with praise and admiration for this wonderful family of musicians but there are many future opportunities to do so. You can depend on me taking advantage of those as well.
Below are links to Juana Ghani’s FB page, Underground G.y.p.s.y Cabarets FB page, a direct link to purchase the “Shall We Live Forever” Album as well as Band Co-founder/singer/guitarist Brian Bonells book “Kasojeni Bay”
Redrum Pikchures Live Music Photos (There are 4 albums total full of Live music photos, please browse)
One last thing to ponder . Do you Juana Ghani?
Its been awhile since I last posted in the Old Saw. My apologies for the gap in posts. Its been a chaotic couple of months since I last posted.
Anyway, I’m back and the set of photos I have today is one of my favorite I have had the opportunity to do.
They are based on the novel “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. Specifically the main character of this particular novel of his. Before we get into it Id like to take some time to tell a little about the author, Chuck Palahniuk.
Weather you are familiar or not with him and his work, allow me to indulge. Most have come upon his most famous writing, “Fight Club”. Yes, yes the fantastically gritty story of a middle aged man going through a bit of a mid life crisis. Adapted to film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. On a personal note, if you have seen the movie I recommend still picking up the book and reading it. The way Palahniuk uses words and weaves sentences together is something you cant get from watching. You have to read it.
The first thing I was drawn to upon reading my first Palahniuk novel was his talent with words. I know sounds silly, “of course he has a way with words, he is a writer”. His talent is different though. He has the ability to make one sentence just dance in front of your eyes or sink down your throat and sit in your gut. My personal copies of his novels are riddled with highlighted and underlined sentences. one liners, if you will. I cant begin to count how many of those sentences fill my mind with visuals instantly. It creates an urge in me to get these visualizations out into some sort of physical, tangible sense.
If his magic with word tangling doesn’t grasp your attention maybe his characters will. Palahniuk creates and has created the most unique and original cast of characters I have ever had the pleasure of discovering. I am under the belief that ANY character from his novels could be plucked out of their stories and be made into a feature length film by themselves alone. Regardless of the supporting cast. The people he chooses to spotlight are commonly perverse in some manner with a very natural real human appeal to them. Often living in slightly tweaked worlds based in strong reality. Some may find his brash sometimes crass subjects and opinions to be hard to swallow. personally I find the blunt, at times vulgar subject matter to be refreshing and appealing.
Palahniuk Does not apologize for the worlds and characters he creates. He allows them to live and breathe in a space free of boundaries within the pages he writes. This attitude is what I find refreshing about his work. Some areas of life are seedy and gritty. As a society we tend to put those things into a corner and obstruct our view of it. When there is beauty in some aspects of the dark spots. I think they should be exploited more often. Placed in front of our eyes more frequently. Let our eyes drink it up and our tongues will follow. Allowing discussion and ultimately finding beauty in the ugly.
To pull it back around to the photo set being presented. The novel “Invisible Monsters” was my first exposure to Chuck Palahniuk. Given to me as a gift I soon became engulfed in the pages rather quickly. I completed it in little time and my hunger for his writing hasn’t stopped since.
“Invisible Monsters” is in the words and point of view of a former model who has recently lost her jaw. yes, her jaw. Shot off from a gun blast , she is missing her entire lower jaw. Below her upper lip is nothing, just her tongue which hangs freely. The story follows her life post jaw incident with her two friends Princess Brandy Alexander and Alfa Romeo. Both of whom have multiple aliases throughout the book, as well as our main character. Who I will refer to as Daisy St. Patience seeing as this is my favorite of her personas she takes throughout.
Brandy Alexander is the dominate of the group with Alfa acting as her personal assistant and Daisy playing a similar role. It is clear early on that Daisy is in awe of Brandy Alexander. Idolizing her and her beauty. Alfa has a similar attitude towards Brandy. He kisses the ground she walks on. Without diving into plot too much the story mainly follows these three as they travel around finding large houses for sale. They approach each house and Brandy acts as the potential buyer. She gives the impression she’s a celebrity of sorts while Daisy and Alfa act as her personal assistants. Alfa will distract the real estate agents as Brandy and Daisy
raid the rich home owners medicine cabinets. Taking whatever drugs they can find. Brandy reads the names off the bottles as Daisy tells her what they are taken for.
The story covers a wide range of topics from fashion industry, the effect of television, homosexuality, the effects of self perception, drug addiction, feltching, etc. Overall creating an addicting read.
I would love to one day visit creating my vision of each three main characters some day but until then I have visited Daisy St. Patience in this set. The model is my dear friend Allison Martin. Taking just a glance over my range of work would show you we have worked together numerous times. She’s a wonderful person to create with and makes my job as easy as possible. Allison was the one who gave me “Invisible Monsters” so it seemed even more natural to create this vision together.
Because Daisy is missing her jaw she often hides her face as best as possible. Using large sun hats and wrapped tulle to hide her face. Being a model up until this incident she is clearly self conscious and uncomfortable with her new appearance. With that in mind I wanted to create a situation where Daisy, post accident, would have felt comfortable revisiting her modeling roots. I imagine Brandy would have been the one to do the convincing. Building up Daisy until she agreed to it. With certain concealers still in place of course.
I imagine the three of them visiting a mansion for sale just as they would have before. Brandy Having a short, intellectual conversation with Daisy while driving. All about how Daisy needs to find her beauty again, to give a big fuck you to a missing jaw. In typical Brandy fashion minimizing the impact of Daisys
situation. Daisy as usual is impacted by Brandy’s words. They arrive at the house and begin with their routine. Upon reaching the home owners bedroom Brandy notices a camera and convinces , on the verge of demanding, Daisy to let her take pictures. For Daisy to own her condition. All of this while Alfa asks menial questions to the real estate agent , having nonsense conversation until Brandy gets her fix.
These photos are what Brandy would have taken of Daisy.
A down and out woman realizing her beauty again. However fleeting the moment may or may not have been. Daisy being a former model goes through the struggle of finding new identity. She was a model, that was her identity in her mind. I like to believe in this purposed scenario through these photos that she got the opportunity to feel whole again. She got to reclaim her identity in order to continue on the path of creating a new one.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you have never read “Invisible Monsters” , I think its clear I strongly recommend it. If you like what I do with a camera, you clearly like things a bit different. Thats why if this is the case you will love “Invisible Monsters”. Then go read the rest of Chuck Palahniuk’s novels. I promise this Character of his is far from the last I will visit in photography.
Getting back into the swing of things after a week off I’m going to dive right in. Today’s topic of conversation revolves around a photo taken 3 years ago. Featuring myself. On a topic I’ve quite frequently touched upon sprinkled throughout my body of work.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a highly obsessive personality. I become, in all matters of the word, CONSUMED by ideas or concepts. Many of these subjects I will revisit over and over for years, if not the remainder of my artistic endeavors. Today’s obsession is the over consumption of media, mainly television in this photos case.
To get the technical out of the way seeing as I don’t hold a great deal of importance on this but I have found it interests others. The photo in this entries spotlight was taken with a Canon Powershot with high exposure, mounted on a tripod. If you haven’t learned it yet, you soon will learn that I don’t use any studio lighting.( soft boxes, diffusers, reflectors, gels, etc.) It was shot with a mounted flash and 1/2 power. The topic of my lighting choices will be discussed in a future entry.:)
The title of the work below is “T.V.(irus)” . A play on the well know abbreviation for Television fused with my opinion of what over consumption of it should be considered. Now I’m like the average person and do own a television, watch it often and pull loads of inspiration from the things available on it. Like this photo for example, even if it is a negative criticism of Television, without the Television there I wouldn’t have made this piece. Hence inspiration.
My view of the over consumption of Television is not one that I have the idea it plagues the mind and rots intelligence. I’m not that ignorant. For me that’s like making the statement that the internet is a dangerous place because some choose to make it a sort of hunting ground for themselves and their desires. The knowledge available through both is far to vast to discredit its potential. To name just one of its life enhancing capabilities.
The call for it as a “virus” is the way its consumed that I’m touching upon here. That blank stare that washes over ones face as they take in hours and hours of flashing pictures with little to no thought. A form of escapism from reality. Shoving images into your brain at an alarming rate without it being of any use. Regurgitating these overplayed images without any thought of why? That’s what pushes me towards the idea behind this image.
You become a recycling unit for ideas and concepts without even really questioning it. Not every idea needs to be monumental or groundbreaking but if its going to take up headspace you’d hope it had a purpose to your momentum. I’m just as guilty as anyone of having trance moments in front of a TV set. I used to be very addicted to the ease it offered to my mind. I could drift through days without having to face any of life’s questions. It became an addiction just like any other.
The collective media addiction we share is accepted because its not physically harming, except in extreme cases. There are no laws against it therefore it cant be bad for you. Now we will shake the finger at someone who does nothing BUT watch TV but, those same fingers are pressing the on button when they get home after a long day and commencing into trance mode. Addiction is addiction, if you’re consuming two drinks or 12.Its no matter. Addiction is the NEED to participate in something without the ability to withhold from it.
The addictive mannerisms associated with Television is what concerns me. It pains me to see many beautiful minds filled with original and exciting ideas from all across the board be laid to rest by that blank stare that ensues. The eyes flush over and CLICK! the lights are off. You can watch the moment someone’s brain turns off and begins to float. It plays through the eyes instantly. It makes you want to shake them and bring that light that comes out when a idea is expressed.
All of the above is a general rundown of what this photo means to me and why it was created. The white out eyes are too express the blank stare that comes out. You could look as deep as you wanted to into them and you’ll never find more than a void. The blood coming from the mouth is to represent both the lack of interest in personal health associated in extreme TV addiction cases as well as the vomiting of recycled ideas being consumed and released. Grey hair is another health representation as well as to give the sense of long periods of time passing. Becoming aged in front of a Television. The expression on my face is my personal feelings of frustration with this subject. It can also be used in a general way of expressing the frustration that exists in any addicts mind. Wanting to be free of what has a grip on you.
Getting back into the swing of things today I’ll resume the “Behind the Photo” format. Todays photo of choice is “Ghost From a Distance”. Based on a poem I wrote, it won’t need much explanation via rants. Just Simply paste the poem and BLAMO! you have all that needs be explained. Except of course what or whom the poem is actually about. I’ve gotta retain a certain degree of mystery and intrigue.:)
Without any further ado:
“Ghost From a Distance”
im still trying to put my words in order.
about the ghost from a distance.
to write is to relieve.
seeing as i could use a good relief.
as one might assume, when approached by a ghost, a good startle is in order.
seeing as the ghost is transparent in nature.
she did not speak.
she did more of a smirk and used her eyes to communicate.
when her eyes laid on me, i tell you…..i thought my intial startle was abrupt. but this…this, had so many things attached to it.
beautiful pieces in flawless symmetry.
her smirk was as ive come to known, her twist.
now imagine this gorgeous design floating freely in front of you,
with eyes speaking to you with much more strength
she spoke to me, but only soft and slow.
i could feel her on my cheek.
as if resting on it.
almost like she wanted no words to spill,
she was very clear with her intentions.
i was locked and dumbfound in her sights.
i fell under a weak spell.
her smirk tightened when she looked in my eyes.
she was not one i would ever call “unaware”
she held herself sturdy, yet she has so much that has grown tired in her.
so many footprints scattered across her torso.
accented by scars of many sizes.
she is not weak.
she is strong. i dare say, stronger than myself.
an admirable ghost.
i had and for the most part still do have , this
compulsion in my thoughts towards her.
this, eagerness in my bones.
my gut has been twisted tight since that first sight.
i want to find her again.
tell her how much she means.
show her all of her beauty marks.
pointing one by one.
tell her she is always welcome here.
i want to protect her, though she needs no protection.
none the less, i want to safeguard her.
keep her heart lifted.
we shared space, only briefly.
but as you can see, the impact was quite substantial.
there is no telling if she will come or go.
i cannot contain her.
at times, i may want to.
not because she is a possession, because i want to share space with her, i have so many questions to ask her.
she has come back ever since that first night.
she does not know all of what i say.
though i do assume she reads eyes quite well and had heard my limbs speak to hers.
i write to remember.
right now, i withdrawal.
i cannot get my fix, but for now, i get bits of excitement and rushes of overwhelming proportion through this pen.
i cant help but wonder what she wonders?
if she could just let me spend some time in her mind.
floating through every joy, every tear, ….her dreams.
even a ghost has aspirations.
i want to be there, if only for a moment.
Today I’m going to explore another common theme that plays itself out through most of my portfolio. The all encompassing black eyes. I have been putting into some of my photos since I first learned the functions of how to pull it off really. They are not and never have been physical full eye contacts. Technology is responsible for every pair you see in my work up to now.
I have seen full eyed black contacts used in some horror movies. I always found this appealing. Yet when I saw it on the screen I wanted to color in the slight areas of white still showing from the eye below. Thinking it was giving me shivers the way it was presented but it could be giving me the shakes. If the eye was covered in a whole then itd resemble an empty, vast space . As if you were peering into a void. To say I liked that would be a mass understatement.
As any photographer or other artist will know when dealing with people as a subject. Eyes are your most expressive tool at your disposal. You can get rid of a mouth, nose, ears, eyebrows, anything else on the human face, and with eyes alone still have a very captivating image. Emotion is impossible to hide through the eyes, in my opinion. This is why people are paid as professional models, actors/actresses,etc. They can turn on any given emotion at any time. It is “acting” but what they are projecting through themselves is very real.
When you are presented with acting minus the true emotion in the eyes and other movement. This comes off as bad acting. Your not convinced of the actor/actresses portrayal of the emotions present in a scene. We, as an audience cannot be fooled with reenactments of just movement of a situation. We need those emotions to scream through their eyes as they take the steps and dialogue on its journey.
Now having explained the importance I feel eyes hold lets continue back to the black. All those emotions the eyes can posses and spit out at you, hold those in your brain. Dance around all those possibilities while I continue here.
Most of my pieces are “dark”, for reasons ive explained in my previous post. My draw to tortured and mysteries characters is what compels me to bring them to life and place them in front of you. Take all of those emotional possibilities you’ve been thinking of……take them away. Drop out any recognition of emotion. Imagine you were approached by a stranger at your front door, you open it. In front of you stands a innocent looking human but when you glance at their eyes you just see black.
For some reason, and I honestly have no good guess why?, When color and pupil distinction is taken away we cant translate those emotions anymore. They just become glimmering black holes. With our instinct to read emotion and intention through others eyes taken away from us it puts us in an uncomfortable position.
Its that lack of emotion that I love! It instantly makes the enigmatic appeal of a subject go through the roof. If I am creating a mysterious character what better way to transform their curious story into physical form? By taking away your largest details of reading motivations I’ve made you wonder or uncomfortable, whichever. 🙂 That’s what the character needs and demands at times.
I’ve used this numerous times for characters of all walks of life. Demons, Nymphs, Ghosts, Aliens, vampires, etc. All of which demanded to be shown but still retain an amount of mystery. The characters I create in photos have short histories. Meaning I usually explore them once and then walk away from them. Moving onto the next. Because of this I want to leave many unanswered questions littered throughout their photos. I feel this allows them to carry on longer in the minds of the viewer. If you don’t know how the story ends, your not going to put it down. At least I’m under this assumption. ha
Moving on to the spotlighted photo today with that understanding. This is titled ” Colorful Conversation.” This particular use of the black eyes is for a character that’s an alien, extra-terrestrial, whatever you wish to call it. Now That statement doesn’t mean that she is from outer space. In fact she resides right here. Her home planet is ours. She however resides on a different dimension than ours. The dimension where emotions are cultivated until they are born into ours. This idea comes from episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation ( I am absolutely a Star Trek guy). I cant recall the name of the episode but it involves captain Picard being taken to another dimension by Q. In this dimension everything is communicated by thought. Although this is not an extremely original idea, this episode was one of the best depictions I have seen of it.
That Star Trek episode being the basis for this photos inspiration. I twisted mine a little bit. My “being” is from a dimension consisting of strictly emotions, our emotions really. Since they are merely thoughts they have no use for a physical form. They ARE the ideas. That’s their form. Our particular “being” in this photo is projected into physical form out of a need. Emotions run thin back in her home, this translates into her “people” are dying off. She presents herself to a man who she believes will see and communicate with her and in turn start a emotional revolution, if you will.
Her eyes are blacked out because she is made from emotion, she doesn’t have just one way of expressing. she is expression. use for speech she doesn’t posses the ability to speak words. In her physical state her form of speaking is the projection of color. Colors are projected in an array of hues and shades into the mans mind. Though they are translated to him in front of his eyes. This is the use of the multiple colors in front of the “lens”.
My imagination is out of control and I often make up snippets of a story for the characters I am creating. I feel they are beautiful just as art but a little peak into these fictional characters adds to their essence and purpose. I write just brief pieces of their legacy and force the viewer to fill in the rest if they wish. To allow them room to write their own piece of it.
Some characters are based on life experiences exaggerated others like this, are solely my childhood imagination expressing itself.
Model: Caitlyn Leonard
This is entry will not so much be about the photo presented but more an adventure into why I am so drawn to one of my favorite reoccurring subjects, blood. I approach this topic because it is one of the questions I get most often. “Why the blood?” A question I’m more than happy to discuss. One that I as well think deserves clarity.
First though, I’ll give a rundown of the photo attached. It’s titled “After Dinner Conversation.” The title itself is a play off of vampirism as well as discussing blood and other horrific like subjects. After a nice evening dining with loved ones a topic of gory word tangling is a nice contrast. 🙂 I fall in love with contrasts on a daily basis.
“After Dinner Conversation” was the first photo I took after I found my desired fake blood recipe. The same one I use to this day. It is corn syrup based, however secret ingredients are added to give it the proper hue and consistency. The teeth were ceramic caps I filed down to size and shape I desired, which sounds less time consuming at first glance then it does. It was shot with my trusty Nikon D50 (yeah I’m a Nikon guy). Lighting provided by a work lamp positioned directly in front of me with the safety guard removed. Coloring adjusted in Photoshop.
Now to the burning question., I don’t promise it to be a short explanation. Artistically I can never recall a time I wasn’t drawn to the darker themes. Being captivated by the appeal that something forbidden had to offer, its mysteries. I’ve found the opposite side of the spectrum, bright and fluffy themes are very cut and dry. I read their stories in a quick passing and have nothing more to ponder on while walking away. It didnt change my attitude or thinking, I view it as safe, good, comfortable. My comfort allows me to rest easy which allows me to forget easier. You cant sleep with nightmares looming in your future.
When I was growing up with my nose buried in comic books and my eyes smashed to the TV. I always rooted for the villain. Not because I didn’t believe in what the hero was pursuing, no because the villain was so mysterious. They had the story I couldn’t wait to unravel. I knew the heroes, I knew why he ticked, why he saved the girl. I chose Skelator, not He-man, Shredder, not the Turtles, The Green Goblin, not Spider-Man.
From a design aspect the “bad guy” always had more flash to him as well. I wanted to dress up like him for Halloween! Wanted that Bad Ass costume! Again, the “good guy” fell short for me. I was bored by his background, his style, his being. You’ll rarely find me cheering for the hero in any given epic battle of super powers. Batman and Spawn are exceptions to that rule. Think about that though considering what I’ve just said. Mystery resides in their every actions.
Jump to the Horror film influence. Clearly at glance of my work its apparent I’m heavily influenced by horror films. Its a larger area of art that glorifies the villain. The tortured, misunderstood enigma is front and center. My intrigue is off the charts!
I’ve been a fan of the genre since I saw my first “scary” movie, “The Shining.” If you can put two and two together you may be picking up right about now where the name “Redrum Pikchures” gets its birth. Its my way of paying homage to my initial introduction to my beloved horror. I loved the way my brain raced during and following my first exposure to that film. Nightmares? of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I dove deeper and deeper into these films as if they had been made just for me. Loving the complexity of the characters with the visuals they were portrayed. The gritty colors and textures dancing around mystery. They weren’t like other things I had watched, they stayed with me. Demanded my thoughts and have never let go of the hold they have on me.
Enter blood. I want to make it clear I’m not attracted to blood just for bloods sake. It needs to be displayed properly. Filling a frame with as much gore as possible is not necessarily an accomplishment in my eyes. If done or used correctly it certainly can be, however its a thin line to walk. Blood to capture a feeling, a mood, a contrast, now that’s what I’m drawn to.
Exploitation in the horror business is a common occurrence. Its the highest grossing movie genre so you have to expect exploitation. Men in offices throwing money in a barrel that they know nothing about trying to get a piece of the action. Don’t insult me, as a fan, by just throwing murder and blood into every frame. Make it mean something. By misusing blood you are avoiding the most important part. The enigmatic air of it all.
I’ve tried to use blood for key moments. As it is with anything I put myself into, nothing is by mistake. Its all there for a reason. The lovely red stuff is inserted into my body of work when it is right. This does not mean it needs to be used to express murder, peril, disaster, etc. Don’t think blood, our life force, is only good in depicting scenes with negative purpose. Its quite capable of much more endearing tellings.
Often I’ve used blood for the purpose of a catalyst in contrast. In fact, That’s one of my favorite uses of it. Take a beautiful man or woman, with all their striking features in a row. The shear elegance of beauty is screaming to be complimented. Making something beautiful by expounding on its already captivating parts is one way to do it. However I find another route more appealing. Give it a contrast!
Find something for it to compete with. When worthy competition comes into play with anything, it offers the opportunity for two greats to be recognized. In sports without legitimate competition, one can only be realized as great but, in the light of battle between two equals the victor becomes THE best. The same is true for art and in this particular case, beauty.
Splash some blood on that pristine model. Watch the features of both begin to run into one another until only one stands the winner. For me there is no way to determine who will win this battle whenever I have applied the formula. My opinion is that they both win, complimenting each other all the way to the end. For others its always the model that wins. Appearing more stunning with blood running over them. Some it’s the blood that captures the glory while it steals the show. I care not who wins, My job is to present the idea, paint the differences.
In conclusion, blood and horror will always be apparent in my art. Whether it be photography , illustrating, painting, etc. It’s dark corners give me endless areas to explore through my art. Its rough edges and color palette are the pieces I would like to see. What I would consume. To some up in a short version the answer to “why blood?”
Because I love making something beautiful , horrible
something horrible, beautiful.
I will always have a love affair with this theme.
This piece is entitled “The Guardian.” Being one of the first photos starring someone other than myself. The model is Samantha Fernandes, a friend and someone I worked with extensively in my first years of honing my craft. She offered me many opportunities to become familiar with working with models. Her patience with my newbie tendencies is something I will always be thankful for.
During the time leading up to this photo I was knee deep in exploring a new obsession. I have a very obsessive personality, indulging myself deep into my interests. If I find something that tingles my senses I will hunt down whatever I can on the subject and immerse myself in it. Ask anyone who is close to me, they’ll say the same. The particular subject of my obsession during this time was E.V.P’s ( Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
No I wasn’t inspired by the awful film “White Noise.” This interest was peaked by a more personal experience. The place I was living at the time, a shared house known locally as “Boing”, gave me a first hand experience. I lived on the upper level of the old home. The house was shared by 8 other residents at the time. 3 upstairs, 2 mid-level and 3 in the basement.
I had been told stories about some unexplainable stirrings in the basement before. Which wasn’t surprising if you gazed and spent little time down there. The stories were your average ghost story about curious rumblings and feelings of being watched.
Always having interest in the unexplained I have naturally always been drawn to ghosts and like phenomenon. Yet always approaching it with a high degree of skepticism. Disregarding many stories by the fact that the human mind is a powerful thing. We can convince ourselves of all sorts of invisible enemies.
Being intrigued by the stories of the others whom I lived with I regarded most of them as self trickery. Simply being uncomfortable in a worn basement with little natural light available. I’m not sure if I encouraged whatever happened next or aroused something but, something changed my mind about that house and its haunting.
One summer night I was unable to sleep. Tossing with my sheets over and over. The heat was too much to bare. The house was quiet , Myself and one other roommate were home. Everyone else was out at the club that night. I got out of bed to get a drink of water and took a detour to the bathroom.
While in the bathroom I thought I heard what sounded like multiple people talking, rather loudly. I couldn’t understand them I could just hear the loud vibrations of their voices from the walls. I assumed it was the other residents coming back from a night out and continuing the night at home. I quickly second guessed that.
The voices, one in particular began to get louder and had very angry tones to it. It went on for maybe a minute or so . Sounding like a heated argument had just broke out downstairs. I finished and started walking down the stairs to the mid-level to see what was going on.
As I crept lower and got closer to the stair landing I couldn’t hear anything. No voices, no creaking from the floor boards, no movement at all. I turned the corner to the main area of the house and didn’t find anyone there. So I proceeded to walk down to the basement, nobody. Out in the backyard, nobody. The front porch, nobody.
I figured they must have left to another place and didn’t think much of it. Just to be sure I called my roommate Peter and asked him if they had come home. He didn’t answer but soon called back. He told me he was still at the club as well as the other roommates. It was becoming more and more odd to me.
Not wanting to make something of nothing I just decided to lay down and go back to sleep. Not more than 10 minutes after I layed back down I heard footsteps coming up the stairs, which was right behind my bedroom wall. I assumed it was someone coming home. It wasn’t. That night my roommates didn’t get home till after 1 a.m. from 11.pm. till then I heard multiple trips of feet walking up and down our stairs.
Talking the next day with the rest of the house. Not a single person but one was home, and his room was right next to mine. He never moved from his room. They all claimed they didn’t come back to the house after they left for the club at around 10 p.m.
I don’t know what I experienced but it convinced me of something beyond the natural realm was present.
Within the next few days I began spending hours online reading hundreds of other peoples experiences and listening to hours of E.V.P’s. Becoming more and more intrigued with every minute of audio.
I began to find an interesting common factor in many of the recordings. Many of them projected a message of protection or guardianship. As if the voices were coming from loved ones watching over their places, possessions or those dear to them. Some offered their protection via threats and others concern. My imagination began to run wild with ideas of thousands of past energy hovering around the things they once embraced while still living.
I found this idea a beautiful one and you can look in many religious texts to find this idea present in most. That beyond this life we have loved ones past watching over us. I find this to be a touching way to think and remember those we loved.
Within days I purposed doing a shoot with Samantha to capture this idea. She agreed and also found the idea a beautiful one. Seeing as my home was where this idea first generated from I wanted the shoot to take place there. We shot in the basement of the house soon after discussing it.
I shot this photo with a Nikon D50 with my shutter speed rather high due to the low light offered. I used a single incandescent light to help the cameras ability to focus. The red contacts were used to give Samantha a “other worldly” feel. Thick black make-up was used to draw attention to the essence of the eyes. Dried yellow roses were placed in her hands as to convey a mourning, like you see with flowers being left on graves. There wilted state to give the idea that a great deal of time had passed. .The seemingly plain black dress was used to detract attention and add to the focus of the eyes and flowers. Later in Photoshop I desatureted the skin to a pale, lifeless color.
In conclusion this photo is an image of one of the many lost loved ones remaining by the side of what they cherished. Keeping watch over what they have been detached from in a physical sense. It’s these bundles of energy that whisper words of warning and love when you need it most. Your ears may not pick it up but your heart will.
So I tossed and toiled about where to start within my mass body of work. For the case of ease I rested on the simple solution, the beginning.
This piece is entitled “Heavy Metal Porn”. The first piece I completed that I really felt I had grasped the advantage that layers in Photoshop offers. My pieces before this, I felt, lacked a flow. They were rough to put it kindly.
Inspiration for this photo came from, as it often does, music. At times it’s the concept of an album, the beat and rhythm, or just a line of lyrics. This came to be by the latter. The artist: Jedi Mind Tricks. The song: “Heavy Metal Kings”.
As I recall I was smoking outside with headphones in. Drifting in thought really. I had listened to this JMT album numerous times and clearly enjoyed it. “Heavy Metal Kings” began, I got excited seeing as its one of my favorite tracks of theirs. Then a line caught me off guard and flooded my head with visuals.
” Drink from the goblet of gore, vomiting porn.”
It sounded dark and seedy. Almost forbidden. I loved the combination of “gore”, “vomit”, and “porn” all in the same breath. Each word grabs your attention on their own.
A chaotic rushing of colors and movement played in my head. “chaos” being the key emotion. If you listen to the song in its entirety it sounds as though this is the message. Putting chaos and creation up against each other. A beautiful contrast. Which you’ll soon learn is my favorite ideas to play with, extreme contrasts and their relationships to one another.
We’ve all heard “without chaos nothing evolves.” I find this to be true. Out of destruction comes the opportunity for creation. Without an idea being destroyed, you cannot have room for a revised or new version of that idea. It remains stagnant in its place, Offering no room for improvement. Nothing is perfect and can always be improved.
I tossed this thought pattern around as I finished my cigarette I began to put together a photo to encompass what I was feeling. I was staying with my friend Jesse at the time and proceeded into the bathroom, with my camera. I played the song on repeat as I snapped multiple shots of myself. Violently moving my body with each shot. I didn’t want a crisp image, what I wanted was a blur, just a form. As soon as I achieved my desired photo I quickly uploaded it and began tweaking it.
This was shot using a Canon Powershot Point-and-shoot camera. I’m unsure of the exact settings used, seeing as I was still new with cameras and likely had it rested on Auto. The one incandescent bulb in the bathroom was the only light source.
It took me about an hours time to complete the shot as you see it now. I used warm colors to give it a “bundled” feeling. As if your stuck in the room with these thoughts. The christmas lights were overlaid to give texture as well as the idea of being bound up with the chaos. They also accomplished bringing the viewer’s eye to my desired focus, the hand over mouth gesture.
The gesture was used to signify the obvious vomiting. Though the deeper concept is the hand is being used to keep the retching from escaping. That acidic turning that occurs when your stomach is changing, the chaos. Keeping the chaos in and allowing for the change to run its course. Allowing yourself to endure the chaos to reach the outcome.
I still hold this piece as one of my favorites due to its significance to me as a developing artist. I still find it reminds me of that day, on the porch, when the line caught my attention so well.
I began taking and manipulating photos in 2004 at the age of 19/20. Being an artist of all forms for as long as I remember, I was always looking for new ways to express my ideas and visions. A simple point and shoot (a Canon Powershot, I believe) camera was given to me as a hand me down from my father. Immediately I began to shoot all that was around but quickly rested on people as my main subjects.
A great deal of my early photos were self portraits. It seemed only natural that I become my first subject. Seeing as I had no need to express my ideas to a model but could rather just explore photography on my own. Photo manipulation entered my photos very quickly into my exploration. My original intentions were to always take advantage of the technology available and what it offered to turning a simple photo into a complex array of expression.
I spent countless hours hunched over a computer learning how each change of the slider or click of a button changed my photos. Quickly I became enthralled with the endless amount of options I could entertain on a piece. Like any other form of art, I loved the release this time alone offered me. Soon I began to get that tinge you get after looking back at something you’ve spilled yourself into and that accomplished feeling of an expression made physical.
After a few years of obsessing with my own little creations I began to show them proudly to those close to me. Those initial reactions encouraged me that what I was doing wasnt just something I enjoyed. Others could and were enjoying what was being created. So I began to pump out piece after piece. Bringing ideas and scenes initially sitting in my over active imagination to fruition.
As it always has and will always be, I continued to create for the sake of creating. As my body of work rose in numbers so did feedback by those I came in contact with. With this my confidence rose and created the desire to begin to shoot others. From there I havent stopped or looked back.
To all those who have given me encouragment in my photography I will always be deeply grateful for that. Those intial interests still sit strong in me. Thanks is deserved to any who have taken time to tell me they liked a piece. Without your kindness and admiration I wouldnt be able to practice what I love as I do. Thanks to all who have given me opportunity to create with you.
Lets always create together!