What are dreams?
It is the place we escape to every night into the world of impossible. It is the world we imagined and built in our deepest recessions of our minds and it is the very place where the impossible becomes the possible, where we suspend our disbelief and take the world as it is.
I took inspiration from Brooke Shaden, Kyle Thompson and Alex Stoddard, my few favorite surreal self portraiture photographers and created this concept using styles of their’s I found interesting. There are a few common items that ties this series together.
First, the bed – it is where we sleep, where we rest and where we are transported into the world of dreams. I utilized this space and the things associated to this space to bring forth the idea of dreams – blankets, pillows and the mattress itself.
Secondly, the square frame. Brooke describes her choice in square frames allows us ‘a window into the portrait’, and I figured that was an interesting perspective. In here, the square frame defines us looking into the world of impossible through a window than immersing ourselves in it.
Thirdly, the wardrobe. I dulled my wardrobe into a simple black and white as I wanted the props to speak the message for me than use my face, my expression or me as a way to speak the story.
Happiness / noun
feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
There comes a certain type of joy with freedom – the freedom to do whatever you want when you are unburdened by time, the freedom to get whatever you when you are unburdened by money and the freedom to eat whatever you want when you are unburdened by weight gain (oops, related too well there).
How better else to interpret this freedom than the freedom of flight. To be unburdened by where to go, how to get there and something that defines physics, gravity.
I used yellow balloons in this portrait and poised myself to ‘levitate’. The semiotics of using yellow balloons convey the idea of weightlessness and freedom while the levitating body represents flight.
To bring attention to the balloon I desaturated slighty all the colors except yellow thus allowing the vibrancy of the balloons to stick out much stronger.
Sadness / noun
feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy.
When I looked back to the times I felt sad, I thought about being trapped and struggling to stay afloat. I thought there was something apt about drowning that spoke to me. There’s also a common image in our minds when we combine the worlds ‘sad’ and ‘bed’ it would bring forth – crying in bed. Hence there’s this idea of tears and water.
So I thought about it and interpreted myself as drowning in a claustrophobic jar of water, clutching onto a pillow. I used the semiotics of water and fish to show I’m drowning.
Like before, I desaturated slightly all colors except blue to convey the idea of sadness in this image. and the semiotics of goldfishes and a jar of water conveys the idea of the sea and drowning.
Disgust / noun
a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
This portrait took me super long to think about, but when I thought of disgust I thought about being trapped in a room full of rotting fish. Strange. There’s something about the smell, the sight of raw fish and being trapped, forced to live in the rancid environment evoked disgust.
So that’s what I did, I put placed fish around me and laid down. The semiotics of raw fish and the strong greens evoke the idea of disgust. The tight framing of the photo conveys the idea of being enclosed or trapped in a space and the moody purple-green colors support the mood of disgust.
Thank you Deryck for the fish.
Fear / noun
an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.
Nightmares without saying are one of the scariest types of dreams – but then it brings a question, what dreams are considered nightmares? One could say the feeling of flight is a nightmare because he’s afraid of heights, while another would say it’s a wonderful dream because he loves the freedom of it.
I thought about what would be the scariest and interpreted it as the fear of the unknown. There’s nothing scarier than walking into a room knowing something bad will happen. Yet, you are unsure of what exactly might happen and that’s when our minds starts to derive its own sense of fear as to what could be possible.
I got the idea from the fable of red riding hood with my blanket as the hood (subtly, of course) and the lights from the lantern to evoke the idea of fear, the darkness overwhelms the frame and builds anticipation as to what could be lurking in the shadows.
I experimented with a few poses and decided on this shot as the light from the lantern lit my eyes slightly and this conveyed this idea of fear a little better.
This was an interesting take into exploring surreal photography, I was very intrigued by compositing various elements. I learnt that it is important to consider lighting, mood and ambience through colors. I liked how film-like some of them turned out.