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