Dirty Laundry #10: Photo Process

It’s up! Finally. #10 It’s nothing like I imagined it, it was only kind of well planned and it’s definitely different in process and product than the other ones…but sometimes you just have to do the work.

For the last two months + I’ve been full time on Person of Interest which has barely left me time to lick my wounds at the weekend. Squeezed in there was my cousin’s wedding and a variety of other social engagements/responsibilities. Twice I tried to shoot for DL – once the model cancelled and once I cancelled and eventually I just gave up and decided to wait until I knew I had the time and the mental capacity. So POI wrapped, I ran away to the Dominican Republic and I came feeling no more inspired then when I’d left only now there was no excuse.

I called up T, a friend who’d agreed to model months ago. When we first spoke she’d told me she was pregnant and asked if that was okay- at that point she wasn’t showing so it didn’t really matter but nearly 3 months of procrastination later it was a whole other matter. I was pretty excited about the prospect of a pregnant lady but I wasn’t so sure how T would feel about it. She however was totally game so we set the date for tuesday and I went off into my world of other obligations promising myself I’d think about it and come up with an idea.

Monday I had no ideas…but I hadn’t really tried either. Making ideas is a strange and fickle process. In some ways I feel like you can’t generate inspiration but on the other hand inspiration seems to be set off by other things you see or hear or smell and it can only really take form in a mind tilled and ready. (This is topic of much discussion on our other blog The Peripatetic Studio.) I was struggling to concentrate and needed a source of inspiration…

Araki is probably best known for his Kinbaku photography  but in among the naked bodies suspended with ropes, the pictures of his cat, and the pictures of dinosaurs there are always a few pregnant ladies. So I pulled out my book and flipped through it for inspiration.

In the end I had still not quite formulated a plan- I knew I wanted natural daylight, and I imagined swaddling T in fabric and photographing her on a bed. I grabbed a few different sheets and got in my card to go find her house.

It was luck really that the top floor of her family home was empty. It was a nasty rainy day so the diffused like filled the area of the room nearest the window, and once we’d cleared out the paint cans and random bits of furniture I had a beautifully lit empty space which was exactly what I was hoping for. Be it my lack of focus or my overwhelming preoccupation with T’s big belly I just had not prepared a narrative in my head. Every time I tried to pin something down my mind would wander away and I’d be left feeling blank. Once we were in the attic with T swaddled in fabric I decided just to go into shooting mode and hope that by concentrating on making visually interesting I could give Viccy enough material to work with.

It was enchanting to shoot T. Her form, her hair, the way the colors of the sheet augmented her skin tones- I didn’t want to stop. However I felt a bit bad asking too much of her in her pregnant state and I only had her move a few times. After a while it was time to wrap up. We put the room back together and headed down the stairs. As we were leaving we passed a dust covered toy piano and my head spun. T squatting in the corner of the room swaddled in cloth and playing the toy piano! I saw it in my mind’s eye and I thought- oh! that is DL material. So inspiration did finally come if a little late. I am very happy with the photographs. I think they are beautiful but that extra strange object I think would have really bumped it into the realm of weird and unexpected that Viccy and I strive for with DL.

Dirty Laundry #10