Here is the last of my blog posts in which I have a chat about my projects...and I have saved the best for last. :) Well, rather, the one that is the most important to me. It's also the one that I'm the most sensitive about, and the one that is the most personal, which may be the real reason that I have left it for the last.
It started very simply - with the below doll that I found in my sister's backyard:
Obviously, the kids, the dogs, and the elements had not been kind to this forgotten toy. I only took this one picture of her, but I was intrigued about how something that started out so pretty had ended up so ugly, and so discarded. And the seeds of a great many ideas were planted.
Then, some time later, I found the below doll in a thrift store. She remains my favorite:
At first, I didn't really have any concrete artistic ideas here. Really, a doll is an ideal model. Humans and pets wiggle and move. A doll stays still, stays put, and always has the same expression. But then, that became the challenge, really. I worked on portraying a sense of emotion with what is, essentially, an inanimate object. From there, the work has quite literally taken a life of its own.
I am quite particular about what I am looking for and what dolls I will work with. I might pass dozens of them in thrift stores before I find one that inspires me. I might take many pictures of the same one, or I might take one picture and then throw the doll away.
And then...there is the destruction:
This is the area of the project that I take the most guff for, and that I am the most protective of. Believe it or not, I never mind when my PHOTOS are called 'creepy' or 'frightening'. In fact, I take that as a high compliment. If I can make you feel any emotion by taking a photograph of an inanimate object, then I'm doing a pretty decent job as a photographer.
It's when the comments get personal that I'm taken aback. I've been called - not the photos, but myself, personally - "disgusting", "awful", "ugly", "horrid", "gross", and, my personal favorite, "what the fuck are you, a serial killer?!".
But I keep doing it, because, really, this is the part of the project that is the most important to me. You could say that, really, it IS the project. Sometimes I will find a doll already in a state of destruction, like the Barbie at the top. But the majority of times, it's me that ruins them. I have some that are broken, burnt, shorn, cut...you name it, I've put a doll through it.
That's a good question. And it has a lot of answers. The easiest one, and the one that I'm most willing to share, is that I tend to believe that people only find the beautiful worthy of love, of remembering, and of being adored. If you are not beautiful, society and the media seems to see no value in you, nor does there seem to be a place for you in this world.
So, with this aspect of the project, am I agreeing with that? Or disagreeing with that?
Meh...it would be too easy if I gave you ALL the answers, wouldn't it? :)