I’m doing that thing again. That thing where I think too much about photographs. About what they mean. And then I tell myself that the photographs don’t always have to mean something…
(but that’s not true.)
Val and I connected to talk about creating a gallery together. We set a date and a time – no plan, really, but we touched on some charged concepts.
“What about _________?”
“Yes. And ___________?”
I spent a couple of weeks really thinking about our conversation. We had the kind of talk that makes you feel excited. Grateful. Reflective. Pensive.
I showed up at her house. We sat down and explored ideas about what we wanted to create. We talked about eschewing the predictable. We talked about being brave and trying new things. We talked about personality and how the inside doesn’t always jive with the outside and how that’s got to be ok. We came to an agreement…that wearing our own skin is critical. Speaking our own truth. And not owing anybody an explanation for that truth.
Power comes in unique forms. If that power comes from outward appearance, it can come from scrubbing exterior selves down to new skin, or choosing to add to the canvas.
It’s a matter of choice.
It doesn’t matter if she’s glammed to the hilt, or stripped down to freshly scrubbed emotions and skin…she is a goddess at her core, when it comes right down to it.
We decided to cover her completely with liquid porcelain. (That’s right – porcelain – the stuff that dolls are made of. The smooth standard by which magazine images are photoshopped; the porcelein-skinned, flawless presentation for faces and bodies alike.)
But with one big difference.
This porcelein doll has cracks. ALL the cracks.
I painted her body with the cool, slippery mud as we talked and laughed and got to know each other in her bathroom. The drying mud began to shrink and shiver into delicate feather-like pieces down to the floor as she moved in the dusty light.
I watched her shift slowly, lithely, every motion deepening the cracks, revealing her glowing skin beneath. Her tattoos. Her piercings. Her body art. Her canvas. Her power. Her glorious self.
And there she was.
The photograph wasn’t supposed to mean anything. But, in the end, I’m so glad that it did.