Hello internet friends. Allow me to paint a little picture for you. Let's say that you want to create an image of yourself all tangled up in a ton of ropes, floating in a dark, dusty, endless abyss. (Well then you must be a crazy person ... or me). "How," you might ask, "did you take that picture while all tangled in ropes?" Well I'm glad you asked ... I didn't. Yes that's right, I did not actually push the button on the camera that caused this picture to exist. So, am I still the photographer?
Normally I would just use a self timer (because I lack a remote trigger), however, it wouldn't be very practical or easy (or possible?) for me to start the timer, run over, get into position, tangle myself all up, and hope by the grace of god that somehow the picture is taken at the right moment. It's just not going to happen. So, I asked my delightful boss/friend/fellow Newton Faulkner fanatic/fun person to have on set, Pammi, to assist me in taking this photo!
"Well then how can you call it YOUR picture and put it on YOUR website if YOU didn't actually take the picture? Isn't the picture technically Pammi's?" Again, excellent question dear reader (you're good at this). WELL, here is how I see it. I came up with the idea for this picture. I set up the lighting. I lugged a huge tub of heavy ropes up to the second floor studio from the prop room (in the basement). I proceeded to tie and clamp ropes all around the studio onto ladders, chairs and light stands at varying heights. I draped the other ends of those ropes over a stool in the middle of my shot. I set up the camera and framed it how I wanted it. (So far if you didn't notice I said "I" a whole lot just now). Finally, when absolutely everything was set to my liking, I had Pammi hop on the scene.
I explained exactly what I was going to do and described my vision of what the finished product was going to look like. Then after becoming sufficiently tangled in ropes and balancing precariously across a stool, I performed what I am convinced was the longest "ab crunch" anyone has ever endured ever. While I was shaking and flailing around like a crazy person, Pammi took a bunch of shots. So, yes she pushed the button and took the picture, but as far as I'm concerned she was simply acting as my awesome trigger-happy remote control! In the end I have zero problems calling this my picture. I did absolutely everything, including HOURS of photoshop work to bring my idea to life, excluding actually snapping the photo.
If you still think it's her picture ... well, then you can just leave. (Please don't leave, I agree to disagree...but you're wrong....) If anything, I guess you could call it a collaboration, but even so I would still call it my photo. Ponder this: if you consider a photo that you carefully directed someone to take for you to be their picture, then Steven Spielberg movies are technically not his, but some skilled camera man's movie. #lawyered
Anyway that's enough about that; I hope you're with me on this, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Now let's talk a little more about the image itself. For this creation I decided to pull some inspiration from Greek mythology. I was rather intrigued by the story of The Fates. For those of you that don't know, The Fates are the three sisters that create, measure, and cut the thread of life. I really enjoyed doing some research on them and hope to one day do a photo shoot of the sisters themselves! (SPECIAL EDIT FROM THE FUTURE!!!! Guy's in case you missed it, I totally followed through on this. You can read all about creating The Fate Sisters here!)
I wanted to symbolically show how fragile our lives are. There are these other ropes pulling us in all directions, doubts that get in our way, times that bring us down, events that distract us from our goals and dreams. You can get tangled. There is one thread more important than the rest, and we have to take care of it, to do our best to enjoy the life, mind, body, and opportunities we are given. (Whoa that's some deep stuff.) I guess all I'm trying to say here is that life is short and you need to find what makes you happy, and DO THAT! Even if you have to ask someone to help you push the darn button sometimes. ;)