Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Photo Freedom Fighter Who Could

When I was studying photography at Lawrence University I took an 'Independent Photography Study'. The project I was working on was a study of dance movement in photography – I was stoked about my concept, but was unsure of how to execute it. So I tried a number of different techniques; I did some natural light shooting, I did some studio shooting, I did some diptychs of dancing with portraits – I tried it all. No matter what I did, I was unhappy with the results. I couldn’t get any of it to match the idea I had in my head. The week of my big due date finally rolled around and I was so stressed out and frustrated (think some serious tortured artist shit; staying up all night in the darkroom, blasting Sufjan Stevens, swigging the cheapest alcohol my college budget could supply for me and my suffering brothers in arms) that I decided to put my project on the backburner and execute a concept that came to me in a vision. I put all my energy into a series of studio-based shoots focused mainly on process and loosely on concept. Once I started developing my photos from this rogue concept, I felt at peace. I was able to see my worth once again as a photographer; the entire weight of my project was lifted, and for a moment, I was free.

Until I got my grades for that term. But at least when I turned in my mediocre project portfolio, I had my vision-based rogue concept in hand for everyone to admire and compliment, all to the detriment of my GPA!

Let’s hear it for art majors suffering all over the country, shall we?

The point of my story is this: sometimes we feel trapped by the things we love so dearly. It’s Important to recognize when this is happening so we can stop the pending suffocation and instead, say, go skinny dipping. You follow? If you love something so much that you’ve opted to let it consume your life, there will come a time when you have to grab the fork back and take a stab at it so it doesn’t eat you first.

I think everyone has their own way of meandering over and running back across this fine line. Some people might take breaks from photography. Some people go on a no-photos-allowed vacation. Some people eat their feelings. Some people throw paint. Whatever gets you comfortably back to the edge of insanity until you wake up one day and realize you're in a strange place and have you seen my shirt, why is there an 8x8 canvas on my living room floor oh god what is that SMELL?

Then you remember how you got there, take a shower, leave your camera equipment and art supplies behind and take a nice quiet weekend trip to the mountains. Aaah. The things we become for love.

This photoshoot with my babe of a friend came at one of these times for me; I was completely overwhelmed with photography, and my recovery of choice was an impromptu IDGAF photoshoot (as it almost always is). I stepped out of my cave, eyes dry and crusty from staring at a computer screen clicking buttons in Lightroom for days, and said, “SASHA….DO YOU WANT TO DO A PHOTOSHOOT? LIKE….HOW ABOUT NOW? NOW WOULD BE GOOD.” So we set out into the wilderness (i.e. my poorly maintained backyard) and this is what happened.

This is how I keep myself sane, though I’ve employed many tactics including all the others I listed earlier. So what’s your poison? Share your freedom fighter practices in the comments!


Model and Stylist: Sasha Anderson
Hair and Makeup by Taylor Stender