In early 2017 I created a series of composites that transported glamour models into discordant CC0 & Public Domain photos. The series was intended to reveal underlying messages about women, race, privilege and cognitive bias that were concealed by the original images’ narratives.
The constraints of using preexisting source material soon moved me to buy my first “real” camera and venture into doing my own photography. I wanted to learn how to create my own believable glamour images and then take the Models in Context series to a new level.
Somewhere along the way I started enjoying the process of shooting and editing so much that I lost sight of the reason I started down that road in the first place. Like a modern version of Hesses’ Siddhartha, I ended up losing myself in the illusion I set out to awaken from.
It’s easy for me to get into an artistic rut when I find something I enjoy, do well and generates positive feedback. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that approach if one’s goal is to have fun and share content that people like (or buy). But for me, artistic practice is about expanding my awareness through the creative process and sharing the artifacts of that work with others.
The initial genres I targeted are diametrically opposed to that end; they could be poster children for the Red Pill. My mistake was to prematurely try to pull a Cindy Sherman and work within a medium to disrupt it. What I eventually learned was that even if my intention for an image was enlightening, most viewers couldn’t get beyond the “she’s hot” level. That’s partially due to the game mechanics of social networks which has been my primary channel for distribution. (More on that in future posts.)
I didn’t give up on coming back to the Models in Context concept, but decided to put a hold on shooting last November to give myself space to reevaluate my artistic intention. After a couple months consideration, I’m still up in the air about a new approach. This rebooted website/blog will be a place for me to think out loud as I start creating new work.
My intention is to post here a couple times a week. In the meantime, I’ll also share images to Instagram, mostly new edits of old photo sessions and fresh shots I take during the course of the day.