This is one of my current favorites.
I took it about 6 or 7 months ago, so it’s not quite “new”.
But I grow to love this image more and more. It’s not the new work, but it informs the new work.
The PULSE exhibit has been extended to March 12!
I didn’t fly again to Calgary but I was there remotely instead – and if you missed it, here’s the little video I made for the occasion!
Last Friday was a pretty amazing night for me! The Inglewood Fine Arts gallery had its opening reception for the show PULSE, featuring beautiful pieces by Jeff Cruz, Andrew Millar and Royce Howland as well as my latest series Locked-in. It is quite an incredible feeling to see people react to the work without filters, to see their expression when they hear about what happened, to witness their interest about the process of printing VanDyke Browns (“That’s why the edges are so beautiful too! I wondered if they were paintings instead of photographs.”). I felt really privileged to be there and am incredibly grateful that Michel Arseneau curated the work for his show.
Someone asked me “So when did this happen?” referring to my actual locked-in experience. And I realised, it was less than 10 months ago… Not even 10 months!! And SO MUCH has happened since. I wouldn’t have been able to guess that the most frightening moment of my life would have led to this – a whole series exhibited for the first time in an Art gallery in Canada. My work changed – or maybe I just finally let it be. I can’t really explain why, except perhaps with this image that I quite like: seeds need to be buried in darkness in order to sprout and grow.
I want to thank every person who has been by my side on this journey (you know who you are). And I was very grateful to see so many friendly faces at the opening itself!
Here are a few iphone pictures of the show – the work hanging before the place was crowded as well as some people snaps (photos taken by whoever held onto my phone, crowd pictures by Michel and surprise portrait of me by Sebastian Kingsford-Nendsa, middle-school photographer)
Oh and if you’re in Calgary but couldn’t make it to the opening, the exhibit is on till the end of February.
Today is an extremely exciting day for me – here is the full Locked-in series in print!
The past couple of months have been such an incredible ride as it’s been quite the journey since that day in April where something glitched in my brain. And it’s extremely comforting to me to see that something so terrifying back then could lead to something so rewarding right now.
Here’s the Artist Statement for Locked-in. I hope you enjoy those pieces as much as I’ve loved creating them!
A few months ago I had a growing migraine attack while lying in bed on a Saturday morning. Migraines are new to me so I was surprised to sense tingling spreading across my limbs. I suddenly felt something pop in my head and pulse through me. Right then paralysis took me over like a wave would. I couldn’t move, couldn’t even open my eyes, couldn’t call for help. My mind was fully on but my body was no longer responding to its command. I was locked-in. It only lasted a short while but it was the most terrifying event of my life so far. In what started as an attempt to exorcise my angst, I decided to explore through photography the anguish I had felt during this episode.
Beyond my very personal connection to this body of work, I have always been drawn to contrasting juxtapositions. And I’m mostly interested in a growing realisation that oppositions and contradictions are not always necessarily mutually exclusive as logic would dictate – for instance an ugly incident can also have some beauty to it. Reflecting on having been locked-in, I was fascinated by the idea that I had felt very much in motion qua brain while totally paralysed physically. I set out to highlight those two opposite States of Being happening concurrently by representing visually the different stages of my incident combining multiple exposures digitally. The use of long exposure times in particular allowed me to convey movement, depicting the agitation of my spirit. I believe digital impressions would have been too sharp and crisp for the subject matter and I therefore chose to hand print the series as Van Dyke Browns. This antique alternative process gives the final prints a certain softness, fitting with my experience, which adds to the slightly surreal feel of the work. This in turn also acts as an allegory for the complex and obscure link between our body and our mind – a connection we rarely truly deeply contemplate, except maybe on the days when it stops working properly.
The locked-in series is a limited edition of 5, printed as Van Dyke Browns on Rives Cotton Rag.