Apartment Session

Good evening and good Thursday to you. I should be grading papers, and I’ll take care of that before the night is through, but until then, I’d like to talk photography instead:

As of late, I’ve been feeling as if the world (namely the classes I’m taking) has been sucking all of the creative life out of me. Now that I’m approaching the end of the semester, every professor wants some sort of research paper or series of creative projects, and I am running out of ideas. I have been burning my candle at both ends and the last few ounces of my reserves of creativity are at risk of running dry. Maybe this is a sign that I should stop being so much of a perfectionist/self-innovator, or maybe I just need winter break to get here so that I can spend three weeks doing nothing pertaining to school and focus, instead, on enjoying life here in Hawai’i. Since neither of those things are going to happen within the next four or so weeks of the semester, I’ve taken to a different tactic.

It has been what feels like ages since I have really gotten a chance to go out with a group of friends and take pictures. Grad school presents a different set of challenges that keep me from doing the one thing that I could probably spend hours doing without complaint. Being away from photography for so long is almost a sure fire way for me to become rusty, and seeing as this is the only truly artistic talent I have outside of theatre and arts n’ crafts, I don’t want to run the risk of losing this part of myself. So I’ve taken to easing my way back into the waters of photography through a series of solitary photo sessions in my apartment.

Thus, I introduce to you, Broken Party Bot.

Party Bot 1

I really do love that shirt more than you know.

When I’m not jumping on my bed for a photograph, I can be found doing other abnormal things (read: abnormal for a 22-year-old graduate student) that make for interesting photographs. The story behind the robot mask is a sad one. Halloween (my absolute favorite holiday of the year) is over and I pretty much missed it. I knew last year’s excellent Pocahontas costume would not be topped this year, but I figured I’d try anyway. I was originally going to be Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time considering how I already owned half the necessary items and only needed to invest in a few others (and because Marceline is the coolest). But leave it to Wal-mart to sell out of vampire fangs (and leave it to Hawai’i to not believe in red and black striped shirts…only Aloha print…sheesh). But when one door closes, another opens, right? And that door led me to the robot mask. Even more, it was an LED robot mask with cool colors for the eyes and mouth.

“I’ll be a party bot!” I said. “This will be awesome!” I said.

But leave it to the manufacturers of this product to make it impossible to get the thing out of the box in one piece. And the wires for the on/off switch ripped and regular “Party Bot” became “Broken Party Bot” all within a two hour span of purchase. (That’s ok; I wanted to stay at home grading papers for eight hours anyway. #sarcasm)

Party Bot 2

My robot mask has been sitting idle as a decorative piece in the living room of the apartment. My roommate finds it entertaining that it watches over us. But as I was sitting on my bed listening to music (as part of my usual afternoon routine), I noticed the natural light cast on the bare, white-washed walls/door of my bedroom. And it hit me that it might actually be really cool to play around a bit.

And guess what? That’s exactly what I did.

Party Bot 3

At first, I thought about potentially apologizing for my little stash of recycling and hair accessories on the desk, but then I thought, “If I’m going to be a Party Bot, broken or otherwise, I have to admit to the pseudo-mess that is my room.” And so was born this little trip to party-ville. I am finding more and more that I really enjoy doing random photography. Since I can’t spend as much time as I would like out and about with a group of models taking themed photos, I find that working alone in my room is at least providing me with new ideas for things I want to try once I can step back into my former role as an active photographer. Despite the amount of creativity I have been lacking in all other aspects of my life, I refuse to do without an sort of imagination in regards to this. Anything short of my usual standards of inspiration-seeking would be a travesty.

There’s something about doing things like this that challenges who you are. I don’t usually step in front of the camera, but being in front of the lens has its perks. I can’t remember the last time I have been so intrigued by natural light and getting to use it to my advantage (maybe not in these photos, but certainly in a different set of images I’m working on). I see things in working with myself as the subject that I don’t typically see. I also get to express myself in a way that is even more in-your-face than usual. How so, you ask? Well…

Party Bot 4

It is no secret that I am a pop culture fiend. I live for the thrills of geekdom, and when I take a photograph of myself, I can play up that part of me like never before. I can take things to eleven. And just in case you were wondering: yes, I am a Star Wars fan. Yoda is sitting next to me on the bed right now as I type this.

These solitary sessions are all about returning to my roots. It’s about taking photos because I can not because I have to or because someone really wants their picture taken. I’m taking baby steps back into the art form that has been my pride and joy for, can you believe it, over 5 years now. That number sounds so small in comparison to that of so many other photographers, but this is about my journey and my desire to walk down as many different photographic paths as I can. For so long my photography hinged on being able to come up with wild themes, but that can be so energy draining (not that I don’t enjoy my wild themed sessions because they are always fun and have produced some of my best work). With me being at such a loss for creativity in most aspects of my life at the moment, just being able to stop, think, and try something new is exactly what I have been in need of. And if putting on my nerdiest t-shirt and having a robot as a head is the starting point for figuring out the next step for me (as wild as it, too, may be), then I guess that’s the road I’m going to have to take.

Party Bot 5

And I’m going to keep using the force to get me to where I want to be.

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