Because Sometimes You Just Can’t Flip a Table

So lemmie tell you a thing.

It’s called creative problem solving when your final project is due in less than 24 hours and someone was a little sh– snowflake,and unwittingly sabotaged your project because they were a irresponsible little sh– angel.

That sounds bitter. Let me start again:

My final project was originally going to be a piece exploring the relationship between our persona and our shadow (two of Jung’s dream archetypes.) I used a view camera to capture scenes of an anonymous person (basically myself with my face partly cut out of the frame,) doing things that seem ordinary, like applying makeup or kissing a loved one and even sleeping. I was going to develop these, alter the negative to include the shadow, and tada.

The shadow was to alert the viewer to how we have these “shadow” selves that represent aspects of ourselves we loathe and repress, and how these aspects are hidden beneath the things we do as our persona. So, if someone is applying makeup, it may be the result of a dislike for something ugly or unappealing. Kissing a loved one, showing that you care for them, may be a manifestation of the fear of hurting said loved one, or a hatred for people who do– which is actually a projection of the deep seated, unconscious part of you that wants to hurt loved ones. Pretty messed up, right?

Too bad I didn’t get to execute it.

Well the camera I borrowed this weekend was broken and no one bothered to tell my professor, so I took it home unknowingly and dealt with its broken shutter and hated everything. But I’m not bitter about it, nope. Not one bit.

I developed my film, which didn’t come out because, y’know, broken shutter, and I was in a panic. What was I supposed to do? Well, I threw this together: meet my persona, my anima, my animus, and my shadow.

I returned to my negative-altering ways for my last-minute final. The top photo is my persona, or my public mask; the waking version of myself that I and others perceive me to be. I’m known as the photographer in my circle of friends. I also love rainbows. BAM PERSONA. There were no alterations to this negative, because it is me in reality. All natural, baby.

Next, is my anima. The anima is the feminine aspect of myself. Notice the stereotypical girly clothing (a.k.a. just another piece of my wardrobe, because I identify as a feminine girl.) I altered this negative using heart-shaped glitter nail polish. How cute is that?

Up next is my animus. If you guessed that is was the masculine aspect of myself, congratulations you got it right and you win absolutely nothing. Now, I have a lot of men’s clothing. Typical I had none of it at school with me. So think of my animus as a 2008 throw-back tribute to colored skinny jeans (because let’s be real, I’m still stuck in 2008.) For this negative I put on three of these crystal sticker things. The placement on the negative was purposeful. You gotta watch out for us artist types, because we can make anything phallic.

Last is my shadow. I scratched the negative and inverted it in Photoshop to create an off-putting effect. The shadow, in dreams or nightmares, is manifested in different ways; sometimes it is the thing you are being chased by, or a killer, or basically anything that is out to hurt you. I inverted the image because the shadow can be seen as the “opposite” of the persona, and the opposite of a positive is a negative and– I don’t think I need to spell it out more.

So, yeah. Even though I threw this together last minute, and even though the execution isn’t as nice as I’d like, I made a concept that worked. Thank goodness I’ve been obsessing over Jung’s dream psychology, otherwise I would have been even more bitter stressed out.

Lesson: Always have a Plan B and do your best to work with what resources you have at hand. Oh, and be kind to yourself if whatever you create isn’t perfect. It won’t be the end of the world.

Happy Shooting!

 

Nightmares Curing Nightmares?

I’m done with nightmares. Well, photographing them, anyway.

As I mentioned in previous posts, these images were made using a view camera and shot on 4×5 sheet film. I have mad respect for photographers of the past, because these things are heavy, awkward, and sensitive, and loading the film is a feat in of itself. Try loading your film into a film holder without scratching it. Go ahead, I dare you.

(Actually I don’t dare you because I’m pretty sure it can be done, but man, I tried really hard and still got scratches. MAIS C’EST LA VIE MES AMIS.)

But enough of the romanticizing of photographers of the past. Here are my last four images for my nightmare series:

mynightmares_15If you’ve paid attention, you would notice that animal masks are a common motif. This is not on accident. I had a nightmare about a year ago now, where I was dead and everything was bizarre. When I woke up, I was so nervous and frightened and impressed. So, I wrote the nightmare down immediately, in full detail. Because I did this, I remember that nightmare above all others. There was a lot of content to exploit, and c’mon, animal masks are neat-o.

While creating this series, I noticed some changes. Before throwing myself into the dream theme (that rhymes in an annoying way,) I wasn’t having many dreams, or at least I couldn’t remember them. But as soon as I started on this, I’ve been dreaming almost every night and even during naps. As for the nightmares, it’s a little different. I’m not having any nightmares, despite focusing on them.

Maybe it’s because of the series. These are all my nightmares, and even though I looked up some symbolic meanings behind my dreams, I never really confronted them visually. A few people directed to me to Jung’s interpretation of dreams, and when I looked back on the images, I saw possibilities and connections in the images that I didn’t think about before.

Perhaps I’m not having nightmares because I am able to find meaning, and by finding meaning I can establish a solution to the nightmare, or what the nightmare represents in my waking life. By finding solutions, I will stop having similar nightmares, because my conscious self will have recognized what the unconscious (or subconscious, idk I don’t study oneirism or psychology,) was getting all fussy about.

Getting all fussy. How scientific of me.

Well the fuss (now an official scientific term,) manifests itself as a nightmare, because apparently even though the unconscious wants to help you out, it’s a bit sadistic. If this is all true, the unconscious is pretty stellar besides the sadistic part. Well, according to Jung, anyway.

SEGUE INTO LESS COMPLICATED THINGS

For easier accessibility, and because I know that clicking through my site to find the other images is too time-consuming for most people, and because all that dream talk made people sleepy, and because I’m a sucker and want everyone to see my work, here is the finalized Nightmare series:

The view camera, despite how much effort it is, is a new favorite process for me. Setting it up, moving the bellows to make certain effects, and processing the film are all exciting for me. This may be because I’m new to it, but man, I want to be more than proficient at it. There are so many things you can try with a view camera (like put things in the bellows!) I can’t help my curiosity.

And y’all know that I love to play.

Happy Shooting!