Timeless

LaRiviere_Mixed_States-8

This is what I know…
The core of being
is a timeless ghost
born yesterday
and every day
through every word
and every thought
caressing the heart
of the matter.
 
Me?
I am ageless—
the same as yesterday,
with tomorrow frozen
in last night’s dream
of what will be
but never is
because this morning,
to no one’s surprise,
it was today,
and I am still
right here
right now
forever in this moment.
 
Oh, but for today…
that place,
that state,
that familiar constant
where time stands still,
and where we breathe
the essence of ourselves
until the last exhale,
which will not be tomorrow
but some other today
not unlike this one.
 
Yet… anchored as I am to the moment,
I no longer recognize myself,
not in the mirror,
not in the mortal reflection
of my outer shell
no…
but oh,
in the photos,
in the miracle of arrested time traveled
forward and permanently captured
oh yes,
there is the soul of me
the familiar one
suspended in animation
transcending the veil of decay.

The past twenty four hours have been insanely productive with much thought, contemplation, and creation. Yesterday I was feeling out of sorts, in a rut, and thinking that I was in need of a new metaphor for my life. I’m done riding the roller coaster… there’s got to be another picture that fits. The image below was an attempt to articulate the feeling, which got me thinking about these old photos of myself that have been surfacing, which then split off in two different directionsone in the form of a fully formulated project, MIXED STATES, and the other in the form of the poem above, Timeless.

New MetaphorAnd that’s how I roll… barely at all, or fast and hard in explosive creativity. The images below are from the Mixed States Project, fully fledged and barely twelve hours old. Enjoy, and thanks so much for stopping by.

Projet Sage Nu

While I wait excitedly for next week’s photo shoot with my first volunteer model, words that encapsulate this new project continue to formulate in my head:

THE NUDE has been admired, studied, and discussed for over two millennia, having made its noble debut in sculpture in Ancient Greece. During the Renaissance and later, painters took up the subject with fervour, but in 1838 the invention of photography enabled artistic explorations that had never before been possible.

In recent times, attitudes about the female body have been shaped by the overt sexualization [objectification] of women and girls in advertising, media, and the entertainment industry. Consequently, women have internalized unhealthy societal constructs regarding beauty and desirability, leaving no room for flaws, wrinkles, or aging.LaRiviere_Nude-11

The reality is that natural signs of aging have been consistently maligned [especially for women] since the advent of corporate advertising in the 1950s and 60s, with its endless brands of facial creams, hair dyes, and other age-defying products. Cosmetic surgery and photoshopped images in glossy magazines underscore our obsession with maintaining the outward appearance of youthful immortality. As a consequence, we are deeper in denial, more insecure, and more dysfunctional than ever as a society.

My intent with this project is to challenge contemporary notions of feminine beauty and the fallacy that it is the sole domain of the young and nubile. My subjects are mature women – mothers and grandmothers – with no experience in front of a camera. The poses are seated, and all compositions are from the neck down with special attention paid to the placement and character of the hands (which are closest to the camera’s lens). The body therefore becomes secondary, offering only partial views of itself with a softness resulting from the shallow depth of field. By not photographing their faces, the women are more relaxed and able to be themselves. Their humanity, strengths, and frailties are communicated through their hands.

In creating and editing my images, I explore shape, texture, and composition as a vehicle to a meaningful narrative. There is no shame in aging because the experience and wisdom that accompany it are truly wondrous and beautiful gifts. Besides, we are so much more than our outer shells.

In viewing the body at its barest and most honest, we are given a mirror with which to contemplate our own vulnerabilities, and ultimately the impermanence and mortality that we all share. My approach to the nude is considered and modest. It does not push the boundaries, nor does it demand to be “in your face.” It is quiet and meditative. It transcends the carnal and hints at deeper ponderings.

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