In this dance with lens
Of vision and dreams entwined
So captured by you
It all began with a desire to break barriers – a desperate need to push the boundaries of my art and of my life. I had always dismissed self portraits. I believed them to be works of vanity or navel gazing and I wanted none of that. But I found myself with a growing need for self expression that could no longer be contained or confined and in a moment of inspiration I realized that a thoughtfully designed self portrait could be the perfect conduit for this.
So I asked my good friend and killer photographer, Jonathan Dvorak, to take some photographs of me that, being a printmaker, I hoped to create a photo etching from. While he was baffled by my vague and convoluted ideas for the shoot he nevertheless agreed to give it ‘a shot’. Having next to no experience as a model, and also wishing to expose such a personal side of myself, I approached the shoot with both trepidation and courage. It proved to be an intimidating yet exhilarating experience. With Jonathan’s skill and sensitivity, I got the shot I was hoping for and many more as well. Even more importantly, what unfolded in the course of the shoot was an intuitive understanding, reciprocity and trust between model and photographer that translated into greater truth than I had anticipated being revealed not only in the resultant images but to myself.
One of these images became the photo etching posted above, which I titled December. The cool light and dark shadows allude to the somberness of this time of darkest hours that will soon give way to the dawning of a new year. The pose is an enigmatic one, with the loosened clothing and downward gaze pulling the viewer into a private moment. Is the woman’s left hand in a protective position or about to undo the button and reveal more of her heart? The viewer gets to decide.
This piece won an Honorable Mention at the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria’s LOOK show in February of this year, my first ever award. This recognition, as well as the numerous positive responses to this piece helped me to realize that when you put your heart into your work it strikes a chord with others, thereby giving it value far beyond any self indulgent navel gazing.
Thank you, Jonathan, for your sensitive eye and generous heart.