Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Last Self Portrait

I usually take photographs during the day.  I was challenged to come up with something at night.  However, I didn't want the usual street scene with lights, neon, and car headlights.

A friend of mine likes to play a game inspired by the tv show, "I shouldn't be alive."  Or as I like to call it, "I should be dead."  This game is to choose one of the most extreme weather situations to see which one you would rather try to survive in.  The choices are (you are all alone with nothing in these situations) in the middle of the desert, in snow, in the middle of the ocean or the rainforest.  We debate on which would be the least painful and perhaps the most "survivorable."  I chose the rainforest and maybe the desert second.  What would you choose?

Anyway, back to the assignment.  I struggled on what to photograph until I passed by some chopped up pieces of wood in a small industrial area.  The first thought that came to my mind is the scene in the movie Fargo where a person gets fed to the wood chipper.  What if I drove by and saw an arm or leg mixed in with the pile of wood?  Well, why not recreate what was already on my mind?

So I did.  After the wood pile, I was excited to do more self portraits of scenes where you might see legs in areas where you least expect.  Perhaps these are murder scenes as viewed by people passing by or perhaps it's suicide and the camera documents the photographer's last self portrait.  Either way, its what you interpret in your head that makes up the story.

So, this might veer from my normal "style" but a welcome one in my mind.  It's a piece of my inside being reflected in a photograph.  The "last self portraits" were taken in order of the wood, wood chipper, by the telephone pole, and hung from the stairs.  As soon as I began, I couldn't stop thinking of more scenes.

Maybe these scenarios should be included in the "I shouldn't be alive" game.  Well, I suppose these photographs are from the "I didn't survive" program.  Either way, it was fun to do.  As I showed these images to my class, one student shouted out, "you're sick!" That was the best compliment I could have received.  I think he's right.


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