It happened slowly, in a seductive manner. The devil that is responsibility to project fulfillment, had worn me down creatively. I could feel it, and understood what was going on, with far greater comprehension than one knows the proverbial back of their hand. (Does anyone really spend time looking at those?)
This does not happen so frequently as one might suspect. Most Creatives know how to keep themselves in the flow of energy that births new work that matters. Unfortunately, lately it seemed that the performance required of me by some projects had begun to make me feel like a heavily laden beast of burden. (Okay, let’s just agree to call me a jackass.) It happens.
I knew what to do. Funny how in my work, things just seem to fall into place, in perfect timing.
A couple weeks ago, I had dropped by my wife’s little retail showroom-cum social salon-meet up location (Betty B) to say hello, when Jeanette Ortiz walked in the door. Big hug. It had been awhile since the two of us had seen each other. At 22, J had recently finished her degree work at Cal Poly and was pursuing work opportunity, weathering relationship changes, the stuff of life that can drag one down a bit. In fact, as we spoke, it hit me that we were in similar places creatively.
She and I, like many of the women who lend time and efforts to the various Photographic and Cinema projects which wander in the door, are not photographer and model. Far from it. We are co- creators. So it did not surprise me when Jeanette said: “You know, we have not made anything in a long time.” The subtle suggestion sparked a shoot I had roughed out over a year ago, to light up in my mind’s eye”.
“You are right”, I said. “Lets. How about tomorrow? ” “Sure, what did you have in mind? ” “You, naked. Remember that high key type shoot we talked about long ago? Let’s do that. Be a good way to spend some time together, and make something different”
Both of us know that sometimes you just go engage a project, for no other reasons than because you can, and want to. We both did. In short order, I had dragged Donna into it to style and help Art Direct, called my friend Richie up, done some location pre planning, lighting design and cursory wardrobe work.
The next day the four of us assembled and dressed out a uniquely funky basement, I ran down to Paradise Pantry to grab a couple of bottles of wine for set dressing, and because Jeanette is a Vitticulturist-budding wine maker-chemist, and we got down to it.
4 hours later we emerged from our simulated multiple locations and settings around the world, taken there by our imaginations, and the efforts of four highly skilled friends. Creatively lit to replicate what one would really experience, were you to ply a small cellar apartment, a dimly lit alley in Europe, or just a charming home, in the historic Oil-Cow town of Ventura, California.
We all had needed that. Cobweb removal was complete, and the repression and constraints on our creative lives were once again, pushed back a bit.
Creative work is interesting in that yes, it really IS work. You assemble and place a lot of balls into the air. But you refresh in process, rather than degrade. It sort of feels like a dam has been removed, with debris and clutter able to flow out and down stream. Flow re-establishes. Without the element of flow, you learn first hand what stagnation is.
Here is an abbreviated gallery cull of the 24 final images in the new collection. Some of them should be available through Corbis Images soon. All work was shot on the Canon 5D M2 system, using high ISO capability, continual light sources, combined with focused bounced strobe, and were processed and developed in Lightroom 4.