At last, I am done with my fairy tale and mythology narrative series project! It has been a fun, challenging, and excellent learning experience. Come view my prints near Photoland and the market area on the first floor of the Library (at the Evergreen State College of course)!
As a recap of my project, I’d like to share my artist statement and my final images:
I am inspired by the themes and narratives found in fairy tales and mythology. These stories capture my imagination. I am attracted to their fantastical characters and settings. My work involves only female characters, for I believe women have a strong presence in the narratives of fairy tales. Using the medium of photography, I strive to create images that portray the wonderment of the stories yet, because of the camera, still hold a pretense in reality. The photographs were created using either a digital, medium format, or view camera and printed digitally.
I am surprised fairy tales, amidst their beauty and enchantment, contain such macabre elements. These stories, which are often thought to be solely for children’s enjoyment, are filled with murders, witches, spirits, and death. Gretel’s Escape focuses on Gretel’s remorse and horror after circumstances force her to murder the witch by burning her alive. The Little Match Girl sees visions of her grandmother, the only person whom ever loved her, as she lights her matches to stay warm, before eventually freezing to death. Rapunzel is locked away, a victim of an evil witch, yet, in my interpretation, she is not submissive and still retains her dignity. Death’s Messenger is based on Grimm’s fairy tale of the same title. In the story, Death is personified as a person and sends intangible messengers to those he is about to overcome. I find the idea of Death personified to be captivating and a reoccurring theme throughout fairy tales and mythology.
In mythology, I am interested in nymphs and muses, for these female spirits are powerful entities connected to nature, the elements, and artistic creation. In Tree Nymph, The Muse, and Nympha Luminis (Latin, meaning “Nymph of Light”), I wanted to represent these spirits as strong individuals, as both part and separate from that which they are patrons.
In both Greek and Roman mythology, women are often personified as aspects of nature. The Greek creation myth includes mother earth, or Gaia along with Chaos, procreating the elements of the earth as well as the Titans and other gods. Women and nature are closely linked. Sea nymphs, dryads, and the chthonic goddesses called the Furies are all of the earth itself. Yet they are distinctly feminine. The nymphs are defined as a “beautiful, idyllic goddesses of wood and stream and nature, often the objects of love and desire”.(1)
This photo is my first in the new fairy tale/mythology series I am working on. I wanted to capture Jamie, the model, as “part” of the tree. I wanted her to distinctly blend into the environment (yet be clearly visible of course). I found this great, mysterious tree on one of my runs through the forest last week. I felt it had a spirit and character of its own. The surrounding woody area was quite creepy. The location fit perfectly for my series, since it seems most of the bad things that happen to characters happen in the forest! However, I felt this tree was most fitting for my nymph shoot. The lovely Jamie just blended perfectly and her strength matches that of the gigantic tree.
I shot this in film with a Calumet 4×5 view camera. It was only my second time using a view camera so it was quite difficult to get everything perfect. It was rainy and nasty that day, luckily none of my gear got ruined! I used three Nikon speedlights to the right of the model through a shoot through umbrella, and I underexposed the ambient by about a stop to get nice ratio between the model and the background. The lighting on this shot was very SIMPLE; I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by getting all fancy with the light since I was so new to using a view camera. This is one of the only negatives that I liked out of the six I shot. I’m still not happy with the editing; it needs something, but I’m not sure what. It looks too green to me and perhaps there is too much contrast. I want it to look dark and fantastical but not too photoshopped. I want to get it right since I think I’m going to print this at least 40″ by 38″ inches. I’m will work on it in PS CS4 some more and post another version, along with the other outtakes from the shoot.
Source(s): (1) Morford, Mark, and Lenardon, Robert. Classical Mythology. New York: Oxford, 2007.