Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: conceptual photography, creative process, duane michals, fiction photography
“When you look at my photographs, you are looking into my mind.” Duane Michals
Most of my photography explores how I can tell a fictional story with pictures instead of words. I went to school for writing and now I find that I take more photos than write fiction. I read a great deal, but writing doesn’t fulfill me in the ways that it once did. There is something about combining the physical, mental and technical acts of photography that allows me to lose myself creatively and not searching for the ‘right’ words.
I’m drawn to the fantastic and surreal in fiction, which I can’t seem to do in my writing, but I can with photography. My writing is more autobiographical, and I don’t feel ready to go to those dark places now in my life, which writing will demand of me. But the idea that my photographs are reflections of the world in my head makes me feel less protected by my camera, more vulnerable when I share them in public.
Since I started photography a few years ago, I’ve struggled with trying to make the two mediums work together. In a habit that I borrowed from journaling while writing stories, I keep photo notes. I sketch out ideas that I have for shoots, write down places and props that I want to use. I keep track of exposure times, apertures, shutter speeds. Once I record the ideas, I have a starting point for a project that ends up surprising me in other ways. That’s what I love so much about photography – the unexpected that you can capture in just a click, an illusion of simplicity.
I am so in love with how Duane Michals achieves this. He scribbles text in the white border spaces of his photos, superimposes images on top of images, and uses long exposures that create dreamlike, sometimes frightening moments. He is not afraid to enter the dark places in his photography. I can only hope to be so brave in my work.
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