Friday, May 27, 2011

Week 21 — Broken Feet

Week 21/52

Last saturday, I had a movie experience of a weight that I hadn't experienced in months, even years, maybe. I saw Pina — the Wim Wenders dance movie/documentary about the life and work of the late Pina Bausch, one of my favorite choreographers. It was incredible. I teared up more times than I can count, which is quite a feat, given that I'm a girl who cries with words and because of words — and there were none in the choreographies. But what struck me more about the whole work, the process, was the abandon the dancers had, how they gave themselves so completely to that work and that choreographer, that visionary, who turned them into sculptures, into timeless pieces of art. It takes a very special kind of courage to give yourself that freely, that thoughtlessly, to an art. And this is a bit of what this photo is about.

I realized, a couple of weeks ago, that my artists' block, when it comes to photography, is mostly due to the fact that I'm stuck on beauty. I like beauty, it comforts me and makes me smile and believe that the world is pink and pretty. But I wasn't allowing myself to photograph anything that was shocking, that was raw and emotional. Because that would disturb the peace and the quietness of the beauty, and we really couldn't have that, could we?

This is my manifesto, my way of showing that I'm doing my best to throw my ties to beauty away. I need to go back to what I was years ago and see the beauty in everything, not just the conventional; not just what everyone else does. So this is why, out of possible shots, I chose this one. I love that my feet are dirty, and hurt, and bleeding (even though you can't see it here). I love that they look broken, after that hour and a half I spent en pointe, working on this piece. I can't put on shoes today because it hurts too much, but I'm still happy about this shot. Because this kind of sacrifice is tiny.

There are five more shots in the comments. I was very torn between this one and the first one there, but I went with my heart and chose the one that got the message across. Of course, other outtakes will come during the weekend and subsequent week. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week 20 — dreams of lavender

Week 20/52

This week is a comeback, of sorts, to the days of my 365 and the hand shots that I took when I was working on that project. There are several reasons for this week's photo to come out like this, but the first of them is the absolute lack of time. I had an amazing week, don't get me wrong. But it was busy and I didn't have much time to put together the shot I had conceived, so that one shall be saved for next week.

I went to Dublin on Wednesday morning, and returned at 3am, Thursday. I went there for the final of the Europa League, which my glorious team, F. C. Porto, was playing — and won.

It was one of the best days ever. Even the plane rides couldn't put a stain on it, they were so peaceful and I wasn't nervou at all. I took about 800 pictures, sang my throat out (I'm actually voiceless now), walked the streets of Dublin for hours, with my cousin pretending to be a guide and failing, caught up with an old friend who came with along with us, and that was lovely; partied like there was no tomorrow, was there to celebrate the goal with Falcao, right in front of him, jumped and sang and waved my scarf, and basically, had the time of my life.

One of my closest friends texted me in the afternoon to ask if everything was alright, and I think I said something along the lines of: I found out that happiness is Dublin, a Starbucks latte and a whole lot of 'portistas'. And it's true. It was complete, pure, utter bliss.

So I wanted to photograph something related to that, so I used the Starbucks mug I bought as a souvenir. The thing is, the session evolved and I ended up preferring this shot. The starbucks mug is in the comment, along with another shot. More shots of the mug (MUG SHOTS, LOL) will come in the next few days.

I hope you guys had a week as glorious as mine. And that the next one is even better!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Week 19 — In Red

Week 19/52

I'm not your usual kind of romantic. I will probably laugh at flowers and a teddy bear, or at a chocolate box on Valentine's. Hell, I'll laugh at Valentine's itself, because I firmly believe that if I need a day in a year to show someone how much I love them, then there's something wrong with the relationship. I'm not up for grand gestures; I prefer the small, intimate ones.

People keep telling me that love isn't what I think it is, that it isn't about passion or about that teenage-like euphoria; that it's about building it up from the ground, from finding a partnership to starting a family. And I do agree that there's a measure of effort and of work in a relationship; anything that doesn't take work is unworthy of our time. But at the same time, I want the fireworks, you know? I want that blinding, mad, fiery passion that makes you forget everything else. I want that certainty, that firm belief that the person you're with is the person who's right for you. I don't believe in shutting everyone out simply because it's easier, because it's cleaner or safer. And I see so many people around me doing it, keeping people at bay when they should be embracing their presence. I don't want to be like that, not even if the world forces it on me. That's one of the reasons I love photographing weddings; they remind me that people still fall madly in love. I don't know. I don't even know why I'm writing this, I just woke up with this idea a couple of days ago and haven't been able to let it go. I want to be anything but bitter. I want to have an open heart, and that's a bit what this is about: a love that is fiery red, flowing in the wind.

[Many, many thanks to my darling Bé, who helped me with this shot. She's such a darling.]

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week 18 — Marvelous

Week 18/52

Oh well. I guess this was channeling every person who's ever done a levitation shot. Which means... everyone.


I like female writers, when they're serious. I like Virginia Woolf, I like the Brontë sisters, I like 20th century writers, who transformed the way people see women, going from pretty-pieces-of-furniture-slash-sexual-toys to full on, thinking human beings. I am immensely grateful to all of them. But there's one who seems to get to me in a very particular way: Anaïs Nin. I read the compilation of her diaries ('Henry and June') for the first time when I was 15. It was life changing, as is everything at that age, but it's one of the books I keep in my nightstand. So when i read this quote of hers, earlier this week, I knew I had to work my photo of the week around it:

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me.”

I'm constantly told, in my life, that I can't just do the things I like, that I have to do everything, because that's life and life is hard and yadda yadda. I know. I recognize and accept that kind of thinking, that kind of paradigm. But the truth is, if it doesn't make me smile in wonder, if it doesn't make my heart flutter with emotion, then I probably won't care much about what happens. And this is what the shot is about.

I spent most of my week writing, which gives me an immense sense of freedom, but also drains me. Writing takes so much more out of me than photography does. But the truth is, it makes me feel alive. Photography makes me feel alive through physical pain, through adrenaline, through putting myself in danger to get a cool shot; writing does that to me simply by pulling on my heart strings and allowing my fingers to run through the keyboard, through taking me by the hand and showing me that it could be like this and not like that. The muse was kind this week, and she lead me wisely through both fiction and photography.

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