With a little push and support from JP Caponigro and Seth Resnick, I started dealing with the Dark Spaces of a gender transition. It has pushed my work to a new place, a deeper place. I was fortunate enough to be traveling with an entire group, including our local guides, who were not only respectful of my work but protective of me at times as well. They made me feel protected and appreciated. That is the only way I could have done the work I did on this trip.
This particular image (others from the trip too) deals with the cracks and breaking apart of my journey. To me, it is about understanding how the process is so destructive in even the best of situations. From losing friends, losing a part of me, the changes and impediments to my athletic ability during the process and so many other ways a gender shift changes your life like tectonic plates that crack, break and utterly change your life in some very harsh ways. This work is about the dark spaces, for if we don’t acknowledge them, we can’t recover from them and accept them.
I patiently waited for the right place in this eerie world where salt is collected high among the Salinas Grande Mountains in Argentina. My body was wrecked with scratches, scrapes, cuts, and punctures from the last week of photographing myself on harsh pumice rock and hardened salt crystals. It was gong to hurt putting all my wounds in a dense salt bath. It did. It was worth it for this image.
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It’s the day before I start the travels back home to NM. I have been going through some of my images and decided to put a smattering of landscapes up I have not posted yet. From the Pumice stone field, … Continue reading
Here are some images from my shorter hike today, to Laguna Capri. It looks over Mt. Fitz Roy. A very formidable mountain for even the best of climbers. Quite a spectacular hike with all the gorgeous views!!
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I got my hike in today! After spending the entire day in bed yesterday to try and get over my respiratory sickness, I felt good enough today to do the Laguna Torre trail here in El Chalten. What a fabulous … Continue reading
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I had a long day on a 200 passenger boat in the glacial lake here in the Patagonias. High winds, periodic rain and totally a blast! I hung out with three guys, two from the states and one Aussie, who … Continue reading
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First, I’m okay. Really, I’m okay. I’m sitting in a swank hotel room in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I had a nice long bath, a glass of champagne and a delicious sweet nut bar treat. I had a beautiful lunch with … Continue reading
This is a preview of images in a new body of work that will soon be released. All these images were taken last summer, 2012, at Moody Beach in Maine. I grew up visiting there as my mom’s parents lived there when I was growing up. In these images I have tried to find my own serenity as my mother found on the same sand when she was growing up and still finds to this day.
Breakthroughs in art come from times of severe emotion. It is impossible to do important and moving work without that severe emotion. After I posted these words to my Facebook status update, a friend asked me what precipitated this breakthrough. It is a very important and layered question.
One of my therapists gave me a sheet of paper that showed four emotions and had all other emotions stemming off of the root four. There are plenty of variations of this concept that can be found, but the basis is the same. We basically have a small number of true emotions with an infinite variety of each.
Every artist tends to produce their work based on major emotions. We use these emotions to create what we envision. Some use happy thoughts some use darker thoughts. It has been my experience that it doesn’t really matter what gets me to the root emotion I use, just so long as I get there and it’s a strong emotion.
My work is based on the struggles I’ve encountered along my life being a transgender woman. Having to grow up in a rural Maine town and not understand who I was based on societies input and structure. Lots of Anger, Sadness, Grief, Worry, Fear etc. These emotions can be grouped together fairly tightly. Many life situations can give rise to similar or the same emotions. Losing an important person in your life due to either death, divorce, breakup. Losing a job. Losing some sort of security. Major illness or disease. Big accident. Plus plenty more that aren’t right on the top of my head.
It doesn’t matter what gets you to the place you need to be. You need to get back to those emotions. When you are deeply feeling them again, that is all that matters. Your brain will place you exactly where you need to be as it isn’t really distinguishing how you got there, just that you are there.
This is all well and good, but emotion alone doesn’t get you there. I already have a direction for my work. A story I am telling. For me to figure out that story and start it, I had to be feeling it. But now that I have a direction and a focus, the emotion that gets me there can come from a variety of situations. The other part of this puzzle is being prepared for when emotion comes to you. You need to be ready to use it.
I have lists of ideas. Lists of things I want to try. A plan of where I want my work to go. A cache of images from which to work from. I also have learned the technical side of my craft and it is fairly engraved within me. Without these items, it’s hard to harness the emotion which you feel.
When the time hit for me, I just sat down and worked. It was a few days after the worst of the emotion that lead me to where I needed to be. I had perspective. I could actually think again. The emotion however, was still very raw inside of me. So, I sat down and turned on the music that fosters my creativity. I had a beer. loosened my mind and went to work.
I already had a few files of potential images to use. I had a swirl of ideas in my head. Looking at the images one or two started to call me to open them and work with them. So I did. I let my emotions and my brain work together to come up with something and the results were a leap forward in the evolution of my work. All the planning, all the technical stuff I learned, and the emotions I was feeling at the time converged to help me produce something new, something that innovated my own work. I could not have done it without a single piece of the puzzle.
As you can see, there is a lot to the process and I’m not saying that this is everything. It’s complicated and takes dedicating yourself to creating work and being the best you can be. Being focused and not getting distracted. Hopefully, I will be able to show my new direction and some new work in the near future.