We all know the feeling of getting negative feedback on a picture. You spend lots of time creating something, you’re proud of it, you show it off, and then BOOM…”I don’t like it” or “I don’t get it” or “I don’t something something something”. It is only fair after all that we get a range of feedback to our work. If I shared something every day and always heard glowing things about it I would know I haven’t pushed hard enough. After all, a positive comment means that much more pitted against a negative comment. I want to stir emotions in the viewer every time I create an image, and I don’t always want it to be a good emotion. In fact, I am often looking for a disturbed reaction. That is something that my earlier work had more of admittedly, but I want to talk about my new photo that is a throwback to the shock value that was ever-present in the past.
I created my new photo as I create most: I started with an idea, I expanded on that idea, I got excited and drew sketches. I waited for a month until I went out and created the photo. I wanted it to be perfect, or in other words, how I imagined it. When I shot the picture I was thrilled – I thought the images in camera were beautiful, the kind that make you say “OooOOooh, nice light”. But of course that wasn’t what I was going for, it was simply a nice thing to feel while shooting. The model loved the images in camera too: the final product? Not as much. I started showing the picture to the usual suspects before releasing it. This included a couple of my best internet friends, the model, a couple more “real life” friends (:P)…the response? Bad.
No one liked the picture. In fact, I found a simple lack of words to describe what was disliked, which lead me to believe it was a general distaste for the entire image. At first I was confused. First, I had not seen it as being very different from my other pictures. Second, I loved it! I expected at least one person to have a positive reaction. But the fact of the matter was that literally no one liked the picture. I spent about 3 seconds being bummed about it. I nearly felt as though I had failed in some way. But then reason struck…or more so, passion struck. I remembered why I create in the first place, and that is always for me.
I started to deconstruct the image from an outsider’s point of view. Sure it makes sense to me, after all it came from within. I wanted it to be very alien; I wanted the scene to have a science fiction flare. I loved the strange body poses, as if hovering over the earth with some strange intent. The nudity was something that was a must for me. I wanted the girls to appear as creatures, naked and forced to show all, a more raw type of human. But what would someone else think of all this? Aliens, science fiction, nudity…overall strangeness. It isn’t a soft picture in any way, and it isn’t meant to be.
It got me thinking about what I want to put out into the world, and this is exactly it. I want to make people feel discomfort. Why should all art be comfortable? I want to push the boundaries of what people think they should feel while looking at art, and what they actually feel. This might not be the most pleasing picture to take in, but this has ME written all over it, and for that I am proud.