Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My New Muse, Pt. 1 - Karen

Four score and seven years ago, I took photos for no other reason than because I wanted. Countless Kansan, CHALK, Dulcinea, SUA and Ogden shoots later, photography had become more of a business for me than a hobby - and this was not what I wanted. Walking the fine line between doing something you enjoy for work, and doing something for work you no longer enjoy can be something of a balancing act.

What made it more difficult was that, while I might've once enjoyed taking pictures of pretty landscapes, or insects or flowers, these photos just no longer interest me. I want emotions in my photos - I want relateability, a connection. I want to show you something beautiful you might have let go unnoticed before, something I think you should notice. 

Having said that, my life's three previous muses have exited stage left, or are no longer able to participate in photoshoots in the kind of capacity I sometimes demand.

Each of them suffered countless hours of my "tilt your head this way" and "smile with only one part of your mouth" and, "stoic, be stoic ... mmm not that stoic!"s. They let me squirt ketchup on them, apply artificial eyelashes, smear them with makeup and blow-dry hot air in their face to make it seem as though the studio had a gentle breeze that day.

But they always held their composure, stayed in character, and developed beautifully in the final product, something I could hold up and be proud.

Muse 1 - Karen. 
Karen had the unfortunate position of being the girlfriend and the model, which is never a smart combination. OK, so we were really more like best friends (see her in her prom gown below), but this woman and her family really encouraged me to take photos in a way that had never been encouraged, and as a result, Karen got stuck in more and more situations that demanded her to pose (and in some of these photos, she's posing as a victim of the Holocaust).The self-discovery that came with photography for me during that time in my life is immeasurable. I wasn't very technically good, and some of these photos are particularly embarrassing to share with you now, but isn't that the nature of art? A kind of vulnerability, something, that, at one point in your life, gave you great pride, and in another, reminded you of some primal-figure you might've scribbled as a child specifically to smack on the fridge. Was that art?


I'm sure that many of my favorite photos now will seem silly and young to me in ten years, but, unlike Vanilla Ice, I won't go scratching through my past, embarrassed of who I was, but rather, learning to become who I want to be.

Keep checking as I count down my life's favorite muses, followed by a series of some totally vintage photos I dug up!

Muse 2 - Kelsey ... coming soon ... 

5 comments:

Jessi said...

I just love these photos of Karen. :)

beth said...

I'm loving this series so far!

beth said...

Oh, and could you please start sending these updates to my JUNO account instead of my KU account? I haven't checked that one in several weeks and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they take it away from me anyway.

KC_Compton said...

These are really terrific, Taylor. It's a two-edged sword being able to have a career that uses your talent and interests, but isn't directly your art or your calling.
It's a balance I've tried to maintain for my entire career--I started writing because I had stories to tell and then very quickly had two children to support by myself and was blessed to get my first newspaper job. My career has progressed, but I've gone in and out of doing the kind of writing I originally wanted to.
Some days I just don't have the ooomph to come home from work and sit back down at the computer, which I'm sure resonates with you and your photography. I do encourage you, however, to keep at it. Your fine art photography has a wonderful aesthetic, and you mustn't let it stray too far from you.

Matthew said...

Yeah, keep shooting stuff. You've done some great work. And I mean that.