Each one of “me” in this self-portrait represents a part of me from my current/recent life; from exhaustion to flamenco to searching for inspiration. I called it “Wheel of Fortune” because I believe we create our own fortunes by how we respond to life and take on its challenges – sometimes nobly, and sometimes not so much. Case in point, a photo like this will take me two days. From setting up to photographing to photoshop. When I finished CALYPSO, which had upwards of 50 individual images and A LOT of photoshop work in it, I submitted it to an online journal already familiar with my work – who rejected it, and let me know they thought I was lazy. Their words were – “We think you did a photo series because it was technically easier than doing a video.” Hmm. At first that really hurt, but now I admit I get a good chuckle out of it. To each their own…
There is a difference in balance at times – most of my photos are me alone, and most of my film work involves several others. But that’s not always the case. With CALYPSO – I cast an actress, we traveled to the ocean, I created a shot list and edited on it longer than I did my film “The Sleeping Emigrant” – which I made entirely on my own (save for two voice overs).
Emotionally, one is never easier than the other. Some stories in my head are films and some are photos. I’m not sure where I make the distinction – my brain just does that for me. I’m about to embark on a photo series this summer that is frankly – a movie in 39 very well chosen frames. Why not make it a movie then? Because the way I want to tell this story – I don’t see it as anything other than a photo series. I have cast actors, will scout locations, I have an assistant, and will edit it in photoshop – then send it out to the world to tell my story in the stops and fits of single images. I’m excited about that. :)
So where do you spin yourself and where do you land? How do yo honor the hands of Fortune? The last two days I’ve been working on this photo – taking breaks to eat and do laundry. I get excited about my work, I obsess over the details and before I know it 8 hours has gone by… Then I tell myself how lazy I am, laugh, and get back to work.
There are many visual ways to tell a narrative story. The day I settle into only one of those structures, is the day the Wheel will stop.
P.S. I’ll mostly let this photo speak for itself, but do want to point out one small detail. The “Me” in the back holding up a picture frame is an homage to a self-portrait/family-portrait assignment I did in photography class in college back in 1990. And here it is (scanned from the original b/w 35mm film print):