Sunday, January 31, 2010

365/29 Nel mezzo del cammin di nostravita

365/28 Nel mezzo del cammin di nostravita

"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi retrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita."

(In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.)

Dante's Inferno

I've always liked the idea of writing on skin. I believe it stems from my interest in tattoos and the variety of designs that can be etched into permanency just beneath the surface. A black sharpie and a steady hand are all that's needed to have some fun with the camera.

I think that's one of the most important parts of this 365 process. Having fun with it, that is. There's a certain quality to thinking outside of the box when coming up with one new photographic idea after another. It's complete and utter terror mixed with uncertainty, doubt, annoyance ... and a dash of relief when the idea works out. One more day, one less photo to have to worry about.

Sometimes you come up with an idea like this one. It starts out as something completely different. I wanted to take photos of some business cards splayed out in my hand. Something you'd see with a deck of cards and a magician, but representing something about me. I played with that idea for half an hour last night trying to make it work before ever clicking the shutter. Never did take that photo. I wasn't very fond of the way the cards flared out under my fingertips. It just didn't work.

But, this got me thinking. What if the subject just needed to by my hand? What could I do with that? When I was shooting in the studio on a regular basis, I had a habit of photographing my left hand to quickly gauge how close I was to a reasonable exposure with our studio equipment. I must have a few dozen of these photos now. All well lit, showing off my life and love lines.

I'd recently looked at a photo of someone's open palm, almost shoved into the lens of the camera. This well-worn hand was covered in ink and letter, all describing the owner with a mottled cloud of words, tagging in black. I wanted to do something like this, but with some coherent thought.

In this case, it was a quote from Dante's Inferno in the original Italian. It's something that's always struck a chord with me.

I like it how it turned out. The black certainly worked well.

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