Feeling Vulnerable

Something about a photograph needs to speak vulnerability to me. In order for me to like it that is. A natural aspect, a candid moment, a direct gaze, a closed eye, outstretched hand....Lying down, reclining, dancing, breathing, a laugh. Each of these things can be constructed in a very artificial way but can still retain some vulnerable sensation. And when worked through with some surrender, some trust in the photographer, they can be truly and bottomlessly raw. I may be looking for that as an artist, it's true. And I may be pursuing a level of comfort with my own deep raw self that feels quite alarming to some. But I do understand what it is like to be seen by others, how scary and freeing that can be. How satisfyingly whole and real it feels to be yourself, just yourself and not the persona you have crafted but really just you. Just you. 

Repetition has the honor of being the best desensitizing tool. A photo a day. A portrait of yourself to view again and again until you accustom your gaze to the shape of your cheek, the width of your eyes and the length of your neck. Until you can see your whole dazzling self and not just a collection of parts. I look at people through my lens and I don't see a particular shape of elbow, a shape that I judge individually of that whole it participates with. I see a person who shimmers in a particular way. A being of emotions and a specific transparency. So when I look at an image of myself i have to practice this same way of seeing. Who is this person? Is she merely a collection of too wrong parts? Does this person have a wholeness that makes sense, a potential for beauty apart from a perfection of feature? Does she reflect light and can I feel what she is feeling? 

The slow path towards appreciation of a vulnerable portrait. Not just a pose but a revelation! A picture of a heart, a heart like no other, a heart with stories to tell. I see it in you. I work to see it in me.

Poetic ImageryYola Owens