Moving on to the first anonymous shoot. There will be a lot more of these in the future as the thought of being able to display the naked form along with our public face is not something that sits comfortably with the majority of men.
(Fig. 1) You question the relevance of ears of corn being placed on display in the way any other person would use cut flowers. The last sheaves of wheat would be woven into a ‘Carlin’ (corn dolly) to give a home for the spirit of the corn to rest over winter until they would be ploughed back into the field in spring. I know this as the ‘model’ taught me its meaning. Whether the viewer picks up on such an obscure reference is not my intent. My intent is to create these poetic frames to give image to a multi-layered portrait of the subject. For my part I wanted to capture the colours of the late summer sun to blend with the colour of the corn.
(Fig. 2) Rings are a very personal possession. Invariably given by someone we hold very dear which is why we adorn ourselves with them to keep them in memory. These hand-crafted beaten silver rings with the Celtic knot work on one imply a personality with non-christian spiritual beliefs. Again it is these subtle hints within these simple images that build up a tale of the person involved. It has been mentioned these could be used as stock imagery for jewellery catalogues, but I was hoping for something more personal and less in an advertising manner. Maybe I was not so successful with this shot.
(Fig. 3) I like the composition of this piece. It seems to be almost dancing and the cobwebs add an aged feel. It isn’t initially obvious this is a lamp fitting as the light itself has been blown-out, but rather than completely bleaching the image it has given a subtle cream overtone to the shot. This is not a complicated shot – there is nothing to challenge to necessarily read; just aesthetically gentle and helps build up the portrait of the domestic environment of this subject.
(Fig. 4) I think I would like to re-shoot this image as I haven’t done justice to the object itself. The casual viewer will be left to ponder its significance and meaning. I know the tale and am still in debate as to whether to add text to the final pieces to direct the viewer or to leave them ponder it’s ambiguity. When this man lost his lover he cut off his own beard and placed it in this box. The object is a memento mori and my photograph mirrors this…as Sontag states that “all photographs are memento mori” (Sontag, 1977, p.11) I felt this object needed to be honoured elsewhere. For while a person is still spoken of they still have life.
There is no naked portrait from this shoot. Time was running away and I was not happy with the couple of shots we did capture. This model requires anonymity and I did not get a suitably ‘masked’ and complementary naked portrait from him. He is local, however so I plan to revisit again soon to hopefully add some shots to these. His initial reaction to the pictures he has seen was “how did you make my shit look so interesting” which is a reassuring comment.
Sontag, S. On Photography (New York: Penguin Books, 1977)