... an explanation of sorts for my often Untitled Photos
©2012 Didi S. Gilson
©2012 Didi S. Gilson
INFUSED & BLENDED
-- FACE OF THE NEW FAMILY (an ongoing project)
Years ago, I had a series I’d named Still-Life Moving where I played on the old ideas of Nature Morte, the one-frame story photo (which is, yes, still photography at its most insightful)... while wanting to evoke a visceral or emotional connection in the viewer.
In this still portrait, I hoped to visit that same arena. However with five (yes, count them 5!) lively sitters, I knew that the likelihood of my coming up with that intriguing and genuine photo I’d personally love would be slim. Add to that, expecting any anonymous viewer to connect with them, or it (the still photo) was probably even further outside of reality.
That was what I reasoned before the split-second when I did press the shutter release.
Anyway, I only had this pair of frames left & the late afternoon magic hour was glowing just right. Bobby was sitting on the stoop with his new baby, Thearee (3 months old at the time) and his stepson, Justice (5 years of age). The front door was open and the two dogs slowly meandered out. First one to exit is the female part wolf, Dolce, then the new little pup, Armani followed (they’d only had him for a week or so prior to this). Yes, the adults surely have a naming-thang, you might have noticed.
What I noticed was that the two guys were often ‘striking poses,’ doing some sort of macho or phony upbeat stance, completely uninspiring, and often with an additional cheesy grin. Ugh. The dogs were cool, the baby too – they ignored my big ol’ honking camera and just let me quietly do whatever I do. I took my cue from the canines and had already chided the guys, “Just relax. Forget I’m here. I’ll tell you when I’m done.” I’d done a quick light reading, I knew what aperture I wanted and set my EV on the Hasselblad. (More on EVS some other time.)
So back to the dogs. As they dilly-dallied out, tails a-wagging... I set focus, and composed the square for the edges; with an SLR especially, I like to think about the top and bottom of the frame and even more: where the sides cut off.
What I include as well as what is left out from the photo, unseen. The first frame was shot so that everyone would get used to the BIG KERCHUNK that my Hassy makes. I love it, but I’m in synch with this machine. I wanted to gauge what the five creatures in front of me might do... The guys looked up and I smiled, “Wonderful. Just once more.”
(Okay, I KNEW that frame 11 was not THE photo.)
So I waited patiently for the best, most honest frame. Watched as the humans zoned out a little. Forgot about me, perhaps. Unbidden, the dogs went into a fabulous Pas de deux - sandwiching the young boy in some doggie affection at the same time. I couldn’t have asked for more. Pronto: I looked at each of the humans... their momentary faces, circumstances of eyes, of hands. Their body language and KERCHUNK. Yep, it was that simple.
That’s this photo.
(As an aside, in this post-911 world, I don’t enjoy traveling nearly as much as prior to the Big Brother crackdown. Toting film & cameras through airport security sites is quite often a tremendous hassle now, but needn't be. I know this because there are just as many times when the customs official is kind, understanding and not demanding... clearly doing their job with a smile rather than attitude.
Still, shooting film and not digital quite as much – yeah, if the ship’s sinking, well... I plan to go down with it until I simply cannot doggy-paddle any longer, I’ve certainly had to make concessions to my thinking and attitude too.
I no longer have a physical darkroom or enlarger – these are some of the things that simply could not accompany me from the US & the price of many/most things filmic is crazily exorbitant here in Oz. Why? At one point, I thought it was about postage & freight airfare. Now I’m more convinced the extra costs for the customer here are just because the vendors believe they can milk more money from a user base that has fewer options. )
First, I’ll set the scene for you. I had two final frames of Portra 160 in the only film magazine that I’d loaded, since I was traveling and leaving again in a couple of days.
...an explanation of sorts for my often Untitled photographs
Thanks for your interest - for a photographic UPDATE CLICK HERE. Should there be other photos of mine you'd like to know more about, feel free to contact me & I'll give thought to adding more here to the Impulse section.