I am delighted to announce that one of my favourite images is going up for auction in a few hours. My image, simply titled, 'Reflections I' was photographed in 2007 and in 2008 was part of the series that won me '2008 Queensland Photographic Artist of the Year'. The series is the first one where I really felt I was starting to get somewhere with my art in terms of exploring ideas and themes.
Again, like many of my other works, I was heavily influenced by my dreams. Most of my dreams are set in the twilight hours, often overcast, heavy, brooding. I wanted to create this feeling of dramatic tension, a feeling that the apocalypse is either nigh or has just passed, a sense that time is standing still and the future and the past are captured in one moment. Reflections was an exploration of impermanence, of decay and the transient nature of time.
The work was shot in a car yard belonging to a friend's father (their back yard really) and I was intrigued by the histories embedded in each car. The friend told me stories about who the cars had belonged too - there were stories of death and violence as well as youthful exuberance - the kind of stories that can only be told of lives in small country towns.
I began shooting the work spontaneously. I remember being completely transfixed by how many reflections and layers were perceivable on the many surfaces- windows, mirrors, glass. I could see what was in front of me, behind me, beyond the car on the other side and various angles of reflections. I used the camera to flatten and capture what I saw. What greatly interested me was the trees that overshadowed the abandoned cars. They seemed to signify that 'this too shall pass' and I was reminded of the battle between nature and the man-made. Here it seemed nature was winning as the cars were rusting over and filled with spiders (I'm sure some also had snakes living in them). As I photographed I remember feeling my brain switch from one state to another- my pulse quickened, my senses were heightened and everything outside me, the camera in my hands and what I was looking at ceased to exist. I was completely in the moment.
Through critiques of this work I was introduced to the work of Bill Henson (recently famed for having his work censored in Melbourne 2008). I fell in love with the way he used light, particularly twilight with its sense of impending darkness. His works, to me, also have that sense of a captured dream. Future works were influenced by what I found in his images.
One image in the series is the reflection of a young male in an abandoned television set. I was interested in the confusion that the double shadow caused adding to the dream-like quality of the images. The male is Joseph Campbell's Fool, the mythological archetype present in so many narratives, the hero that represents humanity.
I have been asked whether the works were created in Photoshop - some people assumed that I had layered images of trees onto the cars - but no, the images are as shot with only basic adjustments to colour and contrast in Photoshop as is usual.
Reflections I (top image) goes up for auction at 9pm EST 8th January and ends 9pm January 10th (48hours). The opening bid is $150US - only in the auction will it be available at this price (Normal price $260US). It is numbered 1 of 20 and is printed on Archival Photo Rag paper at a size of 45x30cm (approx 18"x12").
To bid click here (clear your cache if the wrong image appears)
To view the rest of the series click here