I’ve been inspired by Ruff Mercy’s photo manipulations, using a kind of digital, collage-like approach. He sets his subjects in scenes that *almost* fit, tricking the viewer at first glance. He replaces body parts with surrounding scenery and layers multiple perspectives into one, making these still images feel like a glitch in the VCR. There’s a hardy, analog feel to the photos paired with the precise manipulation achieved using digital tools. If you’ve seen his work- you know this bread and butter. These images are full of fluid movement, unexpected substitution and ease.
I decided to try my hand at it with the load of 35mm photos I’ve got stacked up from the past 6 months or so. I started playing around, trying to untangle how RM is able to do this. Of course, a good artist always makes it look easy. After a couple attempts I got pulled into a different approach, still keeping the essence of what I like about his work — this kind of subtle surprise.
Starting out, I wanted to emulate the effortless simplicity of his photos, but it seems I’ve been much more inspired to make a blunt statement. His images are innocent, while mine almost seem malicious. Lol. Working through them, however, I started to see the tricks he was using, which is pretty cool. Again, he is a true pro and I’m honored to learn from him in any way I can.
Maybe I’m just over this expectation of beauty. This pressure to feel like I can only post pictures that show off my most attractive self, from the right angle, with the right lighting, and the right expression. I love it, but I’m over it all. And from everyone.
I think the parts of ourselves that people fall in love with are the parts we care to show the least. But, in seeing the distortion in someone else, the not-quite, the shortcomings, we are given the chance to accept those same parts in ourselves, and to fall in love with those we might not expect to at first glance.
Also, it’s just fun to play and manipulate things and see how far you can take them. That’s the fun in art, to me. Pushing as far as you can until you find the edge. I’m not there yet.
(Thanks to my ignorant subjects, my dear friends, for letting me do this to their faces)
Can you help?
I recently thought up a really exciting idea. All I can say now is that it involves a lot of tech I know nothing about. I don’t have the skills to build it on my own. Because of this reason, I need help from someone (like an engineer?) who is familiar with facial recognition technology or something similar? Like maybe someone who makes those selfie filters on instagram? I’m really not quite sure who they are, but I know the person I need is out there.
I need someone who’s really good with technology, with cameras and maybe facial recognition stuff.
If this rings any bells for you and you think you know someone who can help, please send them my information!
I have many big projects I want to complete, but because of my lack of connections and funding it’s been hard to get the ball rolling on most of them. I would be grateful for your help.
F I N A L T H O U G H T S
While this still feels like a selfish matter of expression, to write about what I’m up to, it’s what I feel called to do. It’s sad that many of us don’t feel we have a place to express ourselves. (And maybe that’s why this feels selfish to me). It’s sad that many of us were not modeled how to effectively live in communion with others. But I am trying.
Reminder to self - We live in the age of The Internet.
A question I ask myself a lot is whether or not it’s ok to embrace this invisible place, to share our hearts in a place that is so charged, and yet so fluid. While it lacks many of the sensual cues we interpret when communicating in the flesh, it is unmatched in terms of space and freedom (actually the freedom part is not always guaranteed, especially in other nations, like China). These qualities are ones I try to remember too. A constant debate.