I have been working on a secret personal project for over a year now that I can’t even share because I still don’t have a final image to show! I am creating altarpieces to honor families experiencing the transition of their child entering the “Age of Enlightenment.” The actual final piece is being built as I write this. When I do have something to share, I will.
I spent the first 8 months conceptualizing the entire project-from overarching concept to wardrobe and styling and making photographs. Then I spent the last few months working on the final presentation-prints, frames and hardware. It has been a project in my heart for many years but the manifestation of the final pieces has been a scary and daunting process. I am very excited to finally get them out in the world at the Alternate Realities Exhibition on September 20, 2013.
The rest of the project is a lot of production-making new images keeping in the vein of the concept and putting each new creation together with a craftsman. The production aspect of a project isn’t always my favorite but since I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve developed a meditative discipline to keep it rewarding for me! In the meantime, since I already know what I need to do for that project, I am giving my mind the task of flushing out an entirely new idea. I don’t think you truly push your creativity until you make images for a specific idea. When I make images that are pretty and all seem to fit together, it just doesn’t feel like I’ve used all of my creative devices. They may be great on the surface but I really dig deep when I have an idea and make images to communicate that idea.
My new concept incorporates concepts around social media and the sadness it causes everyone I have spoken to about it. I think it destroys one of the most essential attributes of life-the comfort of solitude. I enjoy solitude. I always have. As a child I spent hours on the family boat locked up in the v-berth making things from my own imagination. I would spend my days sailing our Sabot all by myself alone with the wind and the sea. I have traveled solo, by train, by sailboat, by car and even on foot through mountains, cities and the open ocean without the need for hundreds of people confirming my existence or my choices to do what I am doing. I didn’t have the urge to post about what I was doing while I was doing it-this was long before the internet of course so that wasn’t even an option.
This is an experience my kids may never have. It’s something a lot of people will never allow themselves to feel, yet, it makes me who I am today-happy, content with the life I am living right now. I prefer to have no need for anything but my own personal space-no need for celebrity, no need for instant gratification, no need for many ‘friends.’ When I met my husband he said to me, “We are all in this alone.” I have embraced these words ever since. We have to choose our own way, our own happiness, our own ideas and not glom onto what others tell us what these are.
However, social media often makes me feel like there is something wrong with me for enjoying my unsocial, unpopular and unknown life. Being aloof, detached and solitary gives me a sense of freedom, power and independence that seems indulgent in today’s society. I want to explore this concept in depth with a new photography project that communicates how solitude, detachment, and separation can be liberating.