Monday, February 21, 2011

Working in Series

Whenever I teach a photography workshop to more advanced students, I encourage them to work in series -- to create works with a common theme or subject matter.

Most think this is easy and silly. So what? Who wants to see 12 pictures of the same thing?

Then I tell them: write out your ideas and research your themes before your shoot.

"Sacred Movement #3," ©2011 Jeane Vogel Studios
What? We're photographers, they yell! We shoot what we see.

Ugh. What's wrong with this picture (pun intended!)? What's wrong is that the photographer is passive if she's only shooting what she sees or finds interesting. That's one of the reasons that some people don't see photography as "art" -- and are not shy about telling me so!

BE ACTIVE in your art. There are lots of ways to elevate a "snapshot" to the realm of art. One way is INTENTION.

Photography is communication, like any other art form. The artist has something to SAY. Before saying it, she needs to know what it is she wants to impart. That takes thought, time, research and lots and lots of work.

Whether the message is obvious and simple, or conceptual and complex, the best work in series will be thoughtful.
Last Friday, my newest work "Sacred Movement" was unveiled at Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. It started about 10 months ago with a conversation. One of the owners of a belly-dance school and professional troupe approached me about working together to get images of the women dancing. I could use them anyway I wanted and I agreed to do some publicity stills for them. Win-win. I had no previous interest in belly dancing, other than it was beautiful and fun.

I started my research. I played with ideas in my head.
"Sacred Movement #9," ©2011 Jeane Vogel Studios
Within months, about the time we scheduled the shoot, some ideas had formed. The research jelled.

Belly dancing is a woman's dance for women. It's not supposed to be sexual. It's not supposed to be for men! It's for women. It's also mystical and holy. It reveals and conceals. There are layers and layers and layers of meaning.

There was my concept! I wanted to reclaim this dance for women. While I rarely use a lot of digital work, "Sacred Movement" needed layers and layers of textures and colors, which I could do with digital painting. The result is an evolving work I'm delighted with.

Not everyone gets it. Some just see pictures of women dancing. That's ok. I hope they see GOOD pictures of women dancing.

Those who do "get it" rewarded me with interpretations that added to my original concept and enhanced the series with satisfaction that comes from the sharing of ideas.

Artist statement:
A Tribute to Women, Dance and the Feminine Divine

Like a curtain being pulled aside, revealing another world. That’s how Jeane Vogel’s work has been described.

In Sacred Movement, Jeane reveals the feminine divine through the fluid grace of the dancer -- specifically the belly dancer.

A uniquely feminine dance, belly dancing has been sexualized by the West. Originally, it was a tribute to the Goddess -- a prayer, a gratitude, a celebration.

In Sacred Movement, Jeane reclaims the intent of the dance and rededicates it to feminine divinity. These photographic images have been digitally painted to create layers and layers of texture and color, unveiling the secrets of the dance. The hand-deckled edges are suggestive of frayed fabric, fringes and baubles. The artist’s intent is to create images that are simultaneously light and complicated, intense and accessible, layered and simple. She invites you to approach the art as you would a relationship. How does it make you feel? Does it evoke a memory? An emotion? A call to action?

Many thanks to the professional dancers and advanced students of Aalim Dance for being partners in creation of this evolving work.

1 comment:

taio said...