Thursday, October 1, 2009

Traer Scott

Wow, wow, wow. I love his series called, "The Hungary Ghost". The name of the series comes from a metaphorical character in Tibetan Buddhism. In short, the ghost represents constant hunger and desire that can not be met. His series focuses on the theme of the creation stories from various different cultures throughout history. He does all of the photographs in this series in water to allow the body more freedom from gravity.

I have been reading quite a bit lately and a lot of it is based on fantasy ideas, but with great depth about human nature and our existence. I think the reading I have been submerged in, is why I have been so intrigued with fantasy images lately. His do not disappoint me in that aspect. The images oddly enough give me a strange "heavy" feeling when I look at them. There is something about the pull with the light and dark spaces in the photographs that give it this feel. The images add to this even more, with the amount of confusion about the people, or creatures being photographed. Some of the images have obvious human forms, but have an animal feature as well. Some of them are plainly just human; but the water element gives them a sense of weightlessness inside of the heavy pull of the colors. These two things working together allow the photograph to feel even more intangible. They begin to feel even more unreal.

This photograph creeps me out. I have a self portrait series I did of me wearing bunny features and playing on a playground. Those photos have a light hearted feel.. There is something about this one though that is disturbing. I do not know if it is because there are more human features apparent to accompany the bunny face in such a close proximity.. Or if it is because the bunny/human is in water.. Is it because the body seems to be rigid like a dead body that has floated to the top? Why this photograph haunts me, and my series makes me laugh.. I'm not sure. However, I do know that the image makes me uncomfortable in an unexplainable way.

The lighting of this photograph may be the cause for the change of perspective on this image. Lighting really is everything. Lighting can alter the feel, the mood, the complete outcome of the photo. I think that may play a part in not just this photo, but this whole body of work.

I love this photo, because she looks like a fairy tale princess, floating through the sky in a graceful manner until you focus a little bit longer and realize it is not the sky she is surrounded by but water.. Then her form takes on a completely different meaning. Then her body does not seem graceful and controlled. Her body seems to be limp, and weak. It seems as though she has struggled to stay on top of the water.. And she succeeded... Just not the way she would have liked to succeeded. Her eyes are closed indicating death perhaps.. Yet, at the same time she has a peaceful face... So.. Is she dead then? Or did she win in the fight against the water? Maybe her intentions were to die.. Maybe she allowed herself to be at such peace with the idea that the water easily consumed her and the face was frozen in that moment.

Before I read about the background of this series, I saw this photo and thought that she looked like she was having a soul inserted. Which struck me as odd, because it is obvious that she is simply laying in a body of water. So I thought maybe I was just letting my imagination run a little too much with something I wanted to see instead of what it was. Which.. is also funny, because isn't half the fun of photography, and art in general that I can make what is presented in front of me whatever I want it to be? ( I have also been reading a book that deals with "souls" taking over human bodies as host...) ... Anyways, I read the title for this photo and read the word "soul 2". It was a wonderful thrill to realize that the artist took something so apparently natural.. Like a girl laying in water.. Shallow enough to be a bath perhaps.. And create a feeling of birth! The artist intended this thought to be seen in the photograph.. And it works, it works so well and I don't know why, BECAUSE of the obviousness of what it really is.. I almost think it is more magical because of this.

This image created the same feel as the previous one. It makes me more uncomfortable though, because I thought, child in womb.. And, childbearing is a nasty sight, despite it's beauty. Oddly enough, this photograph is beautiful, but I still felt dirty seeing it, because I pictured a gruesome procedure associated with it. This photograph was named, "Creation", which I thought was very appropriate.

This photograph is intimate to be. Children are often seen being submerged half way like this, when their care giver, typically their parent, is lovingly bathing them.

This is one of the photographs that was confusing to view at first. I had to stop and look at what was going. The first reason, is because the angle is awkward for this photo ( in a good way ) and I was not sure what was under it. I did not know if it was emerging from something, if it was missing limbs, or if it was positioned to where I could not see them, and I was looking for four legs, not two. As it turns out, it was emerging from something, it was missing something ( two more legs ) and it was positioned to hide parts of it. This is a centaur, not a human, not a horse, but a mixture of both, and not in the way we typically see them pictured. This also adds to the sense of confusion by taking away my preconceived idea of what a centaur should be.

All and all, I must say that Traer Scott is someone I will be checking back in on to see future work.

1 comment:

  1. Good, insightful comments. Especially, the comment about light -- many folks do not appreciate how the light works as "the hidden subject" of every photograph more or less.

    You write about yet another photographer who grapples with themes of mythology and identity. I wonder what you could do with these themes in your own photograpy?