The following photographs are by no means beautiful by any standards, especially not mine. Nevertheless, they are powerful and are a statement about the inverted world we live in at the moment:
What do they have in common? Inversions. What should be white is black, and vice versa, it is a simple layer on Photoshop which I like to fiddle with from time to time, if I have the right image to mess around with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of inversions at all. It is more of a cathartic exercise for me, I find it therapeutic to push the boundaries and think out of the box, especially when I am trying to work something out in my head and heart. Some people resort to torturing their bodies with exercise to think, weigh the matter from all angles before making a decision, others cook or eat and many adopt retail therapy. Moi? Photography, and the stranger the better. Sometimes this is how I discover that I actually like the new angle or realise that the chosen perspective is something new to me with great potential.
February 2021 marks one year since we all began to take the word lockdown seriously, and masks became more than just a medical accessory. I sound like a broken record when I say that It has been such a bizarre year, with unprecedented challenges that have changed our lives forever. We have been forced to look at life from the other side, an inverted perspective, or a mirror image if you please.
Let me ask you though – what did you do with your life during these last 12 months? Did you merely stay home and wail, grumble and fall into a psycho-social-emotional black hole? Or did you take the bull by the horns and took advantage of the strange situation to pursue new interests? Many learned a new language, others learned to cook and discovered in the process that they love baking as well. Those of us in the creative visual world made our adjustments in order to make changes that we otherwise would have never have considered. Case in point, home studio, and here is the latest crop of photographs my daughter and I churned out, from a set called Mirror Work:
Over the past 12 months I became more experimental with my photography, and took portraiture work to a new level (for myself). As I’ve said before, it’s definitely not something I want to do on a permanent basis to earn my keep, but for personal growth it was well worth investing the time. As a sworn documentary photographer and photojournalist who thrives on the streets and far-flung areas, home studio portraiture and still life is the ultimate inversion!
Bottom line, it was not a wasted 12 months, and who knows how much longer we will have to endure the madness of confinement or restricted movement. So if you let the past year go to waste and didn’t do something for yourself, learn a new skill, or made peace with yourself in one way or another, then 2020 has indeed fallen into an abyss. Inversions – they are different but not all that bad.