I am amazed at how things can surface unconsciously in my work when least expected. This little sequence is a very good example of this. The images were all made on the same day within just a few hours at a Kim Weston 8x10" Large Format Nude Workshop. This was my absolute first exposure to working with the nude and to working swiftly with large format cameras. Before the workshop, I was naturally very excited about this new opportunity and direction in my work but also anxious about how it would all work out. Fortunately, thanks to Kim and Gina Weston, Randy Efros and the models, and the wonderful atmosphere they created, I found myself able to switch gears and fall into a smooth workflow.
Since working with the nude is a new chapter in my art, I had absolutely no preconceived ideas of what I wanted from the images. The general idea was to get some exposure to this new direction and to hopefully bring back home a few decent figure studies that could act as references for future work. So in this vein, I worked with the images mostly from a compositional angle paying little conscious attention to underlying emotional content.
Normally, I would have tended to do the figure studies against a black backdrop and I did do a few images like that. However, the studio set made by Kim kept intriguing me and, fortunately, I ended up making many of the days photographs with it as backdrop.
Back home working with the images a few of them started to stand out emotionally and relate to one another. I discovered that I unconsciously had worked some strong emotions about the feeling of desolation into the images. These feelings, I later realized had been with me for quite awhile. They ended up in the images triggered by the emotional contrast between the naked human figures and the austere set used as backdrop in the work. This turned images that were simply intended to be figure studies into strong reflections of my thoughts and feelings about pressing emotional and social issues.
It seems to me that the feeling of desolation increasingly affects us due to our current sometimes puzzling societal values. We seem to be living more and more by passionless norms we really do not care for, to be increasingly busy all the time, and to be unwilling to face the risks associated with relating to one another. If we continue along this path we will end up desolate and emotionally depraved. It is high time to wake up, to start living our lives with passion and to be more emotionally open towards one another. This is were the spark of life resides.