There have been many times where I’ve put myself in danger for the photograph I’ve had in my head. I know this applies to a lot of photographers and models, but I started to think about it and ask myself why do I do these things. It’s all for the photograph!
Logic tells me the situation is dangerous all the way around. My locations are always crazy in some form whether it be an abandoned house that potentially have squatters to bodies of water that are ridden with alligators. My will to have the shot in my head completely overrides any logic. Now, there are times where my mind plays crazy tricks on me to the point I end up leaving locations without any shots.
I went exploring with one of my reoccurring models a few weeks back. We went to our favorite locations that I haven’t been to in a year. I wanted to go back and see it from a fresh set of eyes with a new perspective. Maybe I will see something I didn’t see before. Before hand, I used to go to this location almost every weekend and after a while it really started to grow old on me.
We arrived only to find out that the entire place was boarded up and the windows were barred. Cops patrolled the area more frequently. My model then told me that another model held a workshop or something in the place a few weeks prior to our visit. My eyes instantly rolled in the back of my head. Places like this can’t have large workshops. It draws too much attention and ruins it for the people who actually care about places like this.
Instead of going on a huge rant about locations, I’m just going to briefly mention my feelings on this subject. I’m all for showing people locations but I’m very selective about who I show. If I show anyone a location, it has to be someone who absolutely loves exploring. It has to be someone who will not destroy the location, someone who knows the risks of going to these types of locations, and a person who will not go around and share the location with everyone and their mothers.
There are just some places that are super popular and I understand that, but at the same time I get aggravated by bandwagons. I’ve always loved exploring and I’ve been doing it my whole life, so it really does bother me when I see things like this get over popular and then ruined. People abuse it. I know I’m not the first person to do conceptual photography in abandoned places, but I take care of these places. I never take anything, I don’t destroy things, and I certainly don’t do anything illegal for the cops to be involved. It just saddens me that my joy, and many others, is being destroyed by sheeple.
Anyways, enough about that. We ended up going to another place close to the original location. While inside I got the spot I wanted, the angle and everything. As I put the camera on the tripod, we both hear loud footsteps. We freak out and just stand still staring at each other with wide eyes and racing minds. She and I both looked around out the windows and I even look through the floor to the first floor (parts of the second story had already fallen through). Nobody was in sight so we’re summing it up as it being a ghost – haha. We quickly gathered everything up and left without an image.
Photography is like a drug to me. It’s been one of the only things in my life that I’ve ever been addicted to and I’d do anything for the image inside my head. I’ve been very fortunate to meet models and other photographers who feel the same as I do. My same exploring friend also modeled for a recent image of mine titled “Streaming Dreams” and she was out in alligator infested waters. Did I force her? No. Did I bribe her? Not too much… She did it with her own will. Why? For that final shot. She understands the final image will be something great. Now, obviously there are some boundaries with everything, but it’s an odd thrill that is sought out for deeply.
A lot of people have asked me what is my meaning of “Streaming Dreams”. I kind of used a play on word and visuals. I’ve been working on this series called “In Search of Sleep” and it relates to me trying to find the beauty of sleeping in all sorts of forms. I’m not going to lie, this series will have deep meaningful images as well as filler images.
What I mean by filler images is that it helps to grow the series but they’re not all particularly deep rooted stories. Some will be super artificial and just “take it for what it is” type of images. I kind of like that. I enjoy leaving images for other people to make their own stories too. It helps me to connect with other people through their own stories for my images. It’s always so interesting to hear how many different concepts people can come up with.
With “Streaming Dreams” it is an image all about sharing my personal sleeping issues and art online with everyone. Sharing my work used to be such a difficult thing for me. I’m really hard on myself about my work so over half of the stuff I create do not even display in the light from the monitors. Regardless I started to share my work anyways. At first it was in hopes that people would like me then slowly over time it became about community. It became about connecting with other people on such a different level that trying to get people to like me was wiped away from all of the meanings of my images.
I started to create in a different selfish way. I started to create when I was upset. If I needed to tell a story from an experience, I’d go out and photograph it to get it off my chest. I didn’t care if anyone could relate to it or not… I needed to get my experience out there. Once again, it eventually changed into wanting to create as not only a stress reliever, but also another way to connect with other people in hopes that it would maybe make them feel like whatever they’re going through… they’re not alone.
Streaming my dreams to you.