before the fall

Unrest has seeped into my life this month. It came from many directions from family issues to my struggle for direction with the disparate feedback I received at the residency in June.

My sister Becca who is schizophrenic has addiction issues and has been in the hospital three times this past month. The last time she went in the hospital a friend called 911 and they have not yet released her. Times like these bring back so many issues for all of us in my family. Things that we thought we had come to terms with, things that were swept under the rug only to be brought up again when the rug is moved.

Just over two thousand miles away and I still don’t have a good way of dealing with it so that it doesn’t affect my focus and ability to be creative. A good friend said to me, it doesn’t matter how far away you are, if all of your family is in the pond and someone throws a rock in it everyone feels the ripples. All I can do is change how I react when I see that ripple heading my way. I am working on not getting emotionally drawn into something I can’t do anything about, learning to accept it.

Last term in order to create a community of artists for feedback and support I sought out others who were willing to meet with me but many times our schedules weren’t open up at the same time. This term I added an advanced workshop course at the community college I work for. I joined this group in order be part of a local art community that was meeting regularly.

Yesterday we had advanced critique and I showed work where I started in this program, what I did last term, and what I am struggling with now. This is especially complicated in the mixed bag of advice I received at the residency and from my advisor and mentor this term. I explained my conundrum to our instructor Carol Panaro-Smith. In my work she saw a thread that ran through last term and this terms work. In a number of pieces she saw as just before the fall. The idea of everything appears normal but something is not quite right, something has just happened or is about to happen. And secondary players in this don’t see it happening. We talked about my work with my niece and nephews and how that process has worked for me. I believe that when I set the stage, ask the question, and let the children play of their roles something great begins to happen.

This month I read an interview from Sarah Moon and her methods and approaches to creating imagery. She works commercially and is very much the director. She sets the stage, makeup, clothing, and hair. When she shoots what she finds are her best shots are not what she directed but what happens before or after the moment. She captures those real moments on the stage in between the posed and acted moments.

My biggest challenge is finding local children who want to play in front of the camera and role-play what they see in the adult relationships around them. If I continue this vein of work I will need to find a way to do this without flying to Michigan to create images. And of course my niece and nephews will someday grow up. I have always worked with children I know through friends and family. I am now thinking of putting together a book of images along with a project statement and copy release as an introduction to what I am trying to create. To begin to pursue these relationships and these photo sessions as a professional. With this book I could ask friends locally if they know of interested parents who have children that would make time for me to create images with them.