Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4 — The Scars on her Back

Week 4/52

I wanted to do something different this week, something without textures, but they got the best of me again. I'm just in love with the textured look, and I think it looks much better with the square size. So bear with me, this mania shall go away soon. And again, some of the textures are Pareeeerica's, some are my own and some others are textures that I've had for 4/5 years and that I can't find the credit for. So really, if you recognize any of them, let me know through PM and I'll credit then!


When I visited my college for the first time, they took us down to the restoration workshops, where we would spend the greater part of the years to follow. I was in awe. I thought I could change the world one painting at a time, and most of all, I thought I could paint and still be able to say 'hey, I'm a restorer! I'm doing something useful with my life!' — which was foolish, because no matter how useful and amazing the craft is (and it REALLY is), it was never for me. Still, I was very green about the whole thing, thinking that I could just tweak this and tweak that and erase all that was bad and keep all that was good. And as this girl took us on the tour, she stopped us in front of a painting, a huge dark thing, which I think is still there, to this day. It was torn, ripped, had paint coming off everywhere — basically, it was a wreck, so she stood in front of it and asked us all "What would you do? Would you paint over it all?"

I thought to myself "Of course", but being the painfully shy thing that I am when I'm intimidated — and I really was intimidated, visiting college after a year of dealing with daily full-on panic attacks — I kept to myself. But someone said the words for me, and this girl smiled and shook her head.

"Actually, we don't. These pathologies you see, these accidents, they're a part of the piece's history. They're a part of what defines the painting, of the path that took it to where it is now. It's not our job to erase history. We will control the pathologies, we'll keep them from harming the painting any more than they already have, but we won't eliminate the scars. You'll still see that there was something there."

I keep thinking, as people, that we work in the exact same way. These past few months haven't been easy on me, emotionally or physically, and they left me covered in tears and rips. But those figurative rips, those scars, are what makes me who I am now. And I love each and every one of them. I have an actual scar on the lower side of my stomach, from the appendectomy I got when I was 14, and I absolutely adore it. I actually celebrate it, because it reminds me of a day when I was unbelievably brave. So why should I treat the other scars differently? They are all there for a reason, and they do weigh on me sometimes, but they're a part of my path. And what I make of them defines who I am.
It's up to us to be the restorers, here. It's up to us to take the rips, sew them up and make them as pretty as we can, because that's what we're here to do. We have that choice, even if sometimes it feels like we don't. And that's what makes life so damn brilliant.

[I am SO sorry for how long this is. I'm impossible, I know. I talk too much. And a 'thank you' note is in order, to my friend Carlos Neto, who sort of brought up this issue for me in a post he made on a friend's photo. :) ]

Friday, January 21, 2011

Week 3 — the girl and the light

Week 3/52

This week was anything but easy. Two robberies in the family, two hard dates to deal with and a whole lot of darkness left me completely devoid of inspiration for this week's shot. So I did what I usually do when I'm uninspired: I got my things and went up to the rooftop, armed with a dress, a set of jars and candles and my camera. I sat there for an hour and thought. I let everything run through my mind: how hopeless I am about the years to come, how I can't deal with the things I should be able to deal with, at this age. How much I miss him and how every day I want to talk to him. How my life changed this week and how I have to adjust. How I wish I had taken another 365, to keep my mind busy. How volunteering wasn't what I thought it would be. And then, at some point, things started to look better.

I started to think about the set of studio lights that I have on their way, about the summer days that are yet to come, about the road trips I'm starting to schedule. I started to remember good things; late-afternoons in the park, golden hours at that same rooftop. Afternoons of fun with friends, of pure joy and laughter, that I hope to find again sometime in the future.

The light came to me again, and I found myself smiling and getting ready for this shot. Because, if you look carefully, it's all about light. It's all about the candles you light and how you nurture them and keep them alive. It's all about keeping your happiness close to you. And even when that source of happiness can't be close to you, even when you're not strong enough yet to look at that flame, you know that it's still there, and that if you're meant to be connected to that source, sometime, you will be. You just have to take one day at a time and deal with things as they come.

One day at a time, right? And a smile on your face. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 2 — Flowers for her Hair

Last week, I was at the market and passed by some hydrangeas on a stand. I was with my mom, and while she gathered things, I tried to keep my sister distracted, but my eyes remained on the flowers. I started to imagine them growing, taking over the stand, sweet-scented tentacles growing and surrounding other flowers, embracing them. And then I another image came to my mind, the image of Medusa's hair made of snakes, of how they moved like tentacles. My mind was off the flowers, and I moved it to something else. Still, somehow, in the next few days, those two ideas ran into each other in my mind over and over again. I kept picturing Caravaggio's Medusa and replacing the hair with flowers, with the hydrangeas I'd seen. So I wrote it down. Yesterday, I actually drew the scheme for the photo, and what came out was something so much lighter, so much more... pink. And the darkness sort of faded away. This turned from a picture of despair, of insanity, into a girl with an uncontrollable mane made of flowers. And I sort of love it, because that is so much more like me than that darkness ever was.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 1 - The World in her Hands

This photo was supposed to be about a certain garter belt and the stuff that comes with, but when I started to take the photos, I realized it's actually about beauty. A great part of this project will be about beauty, I can tell you now, because I firmly believe that it's the only thing that can save us. It's not just exterior beauty, pink or gold or things we like to look at; it's the kind of beauty that makes your heart start beating rapidly in your chest, the kind of beauty that makes your stomach jump with joy, and that makes your fingers tingle with the need to touch it, to experience it with your hands (note: if you're in the Borghese Gallery, you might want to rethink this part. I'm just saying). It's about a world that can be filled with butterflies and flowers, if we want it to. We just have to smile and be happy.

I hope you're all gloriously happy this week!

52 Weeks

Olá gente!

Espero que tenham começado 2011 da melhor forma possível, e que estejam prontos para começar esta nova etapa com um sorriso!

Eu já dei início a um novo desafio, o 52 Weeks. É um projecto semelhante ao 365 Days — também com auto-retratos — embora só se publique uma foto por semana. Este espaço de tempo entre as publicações permite que o trabalho fotográfico e de concepção seja mais demorado, que as ideias amadureçam e que o trabalho final tenha mais qualidade. Por isso cá estamos! O dia que eu escolhi para publicação das fotos é a sexta-feira; publicá-las-ei no Flickr e aqui no blogue. Durante o resto da semana, se tiverem curiosidade, vejam no flickr as fotografias extra, que eu vou publicando!

Desejem-me sorte!


Hi people,

I hope you started 2011 in the best possible way, and that you're ready to face this new beginning with a smile on your face!

I have already begun a new challenge: a 52 Weeks project. It's similar to my 365 Days — also with self-portraits — though it only requires you to post a photo once a week. This time between posts allows us to work properly on conception and the maturation of ideas, and allows for a better final result. So here we are! I chose Fridays as my publishing day, and I'll be uploading the photos both here and on flickr. If you're curious, check my flickr during the week and see the outtakes I'll be posting regularly!

Wish me luck! :)