In celebration of Pride 2020, I would light to present my first creative project from 2004 “Queen of the Sea ~~ Queen of the Deck”.
Let me clarify, unlike my photography to that point where I would create an image based what was presented to me be it a building, landscapes, fishing village, etc. This project was going to be outside my comfort zone. Besides the normal technical photographic requirements, I had to script the story, create the scene, and acquire the costume. The complete process.
This was a great experience and had a direct influence on the development of my artistic style.
For the group exhibition, all the artwork had to reflect a “mermaid”. As a photographer, do I take a picture of a mermaid? No, I had to think outside the box and create a unique presentation.
After brainstorming with a friend, we developed the idea of the queen of cards and to distinguish the different suits we would use the queen’s scepter topped with a heart, diamond, spade, or club. Since I was transgender, I would be the queen. Yes, it is a self-portrait.
To ensure that I would capture the right image, I shot a roll of ten images for each suit. My camera is manual so after setting the focus, I used a cable release to capture the image. Then after each shot, I had to waddle back and forth from my perch to advance the film and to adjust any settings.
In hindsight, I should have video tapped the creation of the images. It was quite a sight!
At the opening reception, I arrived fashionably late. As I remember, I was wearing a red leather mini shirt with matching jacket and knee-high black leather boots. When I entered the gallery, they looked at me and then the artwork. Yes, they now could personally connect with my artwork. My work was a hit of the night and allowed for several engaging and interactive conversations.
I cannot always be with my artwork to create that personal connection. My artistic style has evolved to create a connection with the viewer to engage with them to question what they are looking at whether it is a painting or sketch and even the subject. This creates a connection and at the same time allowing them to form their own interpretation.
Shortly after the exhibition, I was introduced to American photographer, Cindy Sherman. I was particularly drawn to her groundbreaking self-portraits – “Untitled Film Stills”. I continue to follow her work today.
Watch for future posts on my blog where I will personally connect with you to provide insight on my creation process by highlighting specific images.