Dirty Laundry #11: Photo Process

# 11 – The Break Up Special

I had just broke up with my sort-of-not-really-boyfriend of 6 months, and while I didn’t really want to make a tiny effigy of him and stick it full of pins it seemed like perfect inspiration for a DL shoot.


But the real question is – what took so long?

Since the summer I’ve been back to work on Person of Interest, an extremely draining more than full time job. The few hours I had off a week have been split between sleeping, brunching and attempting to go out and participate- however exhausted- with the world. For a while I was still trying (and still apologizing to Viccy) but after models cancelled on me three weekends in a row I just kind of gave up. There was only so much room in my brain and energy in my body. It’s a strange paradox knowing that something will make you happy and invigorated if only you can scrape together the energy to make it happen. But finding models and thinking of scenarios and pulling it all together just seemed like too much.

And then there was a hurricane, M and I ended things, I was homeless, work was cancelled, work was back on and I came on the truck one morning thinking. Things were crazy and then just as quickly as it all fell apart things were back to normal only now I wasn’t trying to figure out where I was going to sleep and if I needed to bring clean clothes to work that day. Shooting DL #11 was a direct result of ending my relationship- not only did it give me an idea that I could run with imaginatively but it freed up the time to execute it. Honestly I have mixed feelings about this fact but that’s a different subject entirely.


For the shoot I invited a long time friend and favorite comedian over for a casual Sunday evening dress up and hang out session. I told J to bring lots of jewelry and a couple of tops – her inspiration was to be tarot card reader/gypsy. When she arrived my sister made some snacks and we all chatted and caught up as I dragged all the plants from the entire apartment into the sitting area and arranged them around a throne like chair we had recently inherited from my sister’s grand mother. I had J sit in the chair while I fussed with the plants and then fussed with a colorful scarf on her head- eventually abandoned. I had Andrea Arnold’s Fishtank, and an old ethnography about gypsies I’d read in college floating around in my head. I wanted the harness the idea that there’s power in the fringe- people who live in what seems like a liminal space to those who march little circles around the center.

I gave J the pieces for the Voodoo doll and she got straight to work. Later she commented that it was kind of creepy how easily it came to her, and I actually contemplated if I should be worried about the health of the model from #2 who was in the photographs on the table and mean to stand in as the object of the voodoo. IMG_2470

I thought about including my sister in the shoot- only here hands so that J could have been providing a service for her as voodoo doll maker but in the end I decided to stick with the formula as it has been established. One person, one time, one space. This has developed mostly out of necessity as shooting has to be crammed into a busy schedule. I also decided early on that I wanted to create a sense of narrative for Viccy and one way for me to do with with the means available was to create a “scene” that was rich in content and then shoot it at at different degrees of detail. This method seemed to work and ultimately became the dominant aesthetic for the photographs and to a certain extent the writing. **Viccy maybe you can comment on this more.

Ultimately shooting #11 was a pleasure and I really enjoyed the feeling of sharing the creative process with close lady friends- it was just the right mix of goal accomplishing, catharsis and Sunday evening down time.