Too often, I’m not satisfied with my photographs. Superficially they might be ‘beautiful’ – but what do I feel when I look at them? Nothing. They’re like a pretty face that’s pleasant to look at, but exchangeable with any other, blank.
I figured that the lack of emotions is due to the fact that I’m still a beginner. My focus isn’t on conveying emotions yet. Instead, I’ve been working on the theme and atmosphere. I’ve also been playing safe, following other photographers and trying out their different styles. Things that have worked for them. I’ve been copying other people’s visions instead of developing my own – just in order to make my work more likable so it reaches a bigger audience.
Fortunately, there’s music, and it inspires me in a different and better way. Music doesn’t saturate my eyes with finished pictures. Instead, it fills my heart with emotions I want to express.
I’ve loved the band Keane ever since I discovered their song Somewhere Only We Know playing SingStar at my best friend’s place seven or eight years ago. They published their last album, my favourite one, during my exchange year in Uruguay. Broken and hopeful, I listened to their songs for days – also after my return to Switzerland. No matter how lonely I felt, their music was always there for me.
Unfortunately Keane disbanded before I got the chance to see them live. In the meantime their singer, Tom Chaplin, has started his solo career and published his first song this week – the reason why I’m writing this post.
I watched the music video and from the first seconds on, I was captivated. This is it. This is exactly what I want to express with my art. The emotional song accompanied with those amazing shots in nature – perfection. The mixture I strive to achieve. I can’t let my vision lose its way, trying to please beauty standards instead of following my heart.
For years, Tom fought against his drug addiction, finally liberating himself two years ago. His songs are about the transition from darkness back to life and happiness. I love how open and vulnerable he is about his experience.
With my photography, I want to express our vulnerability. I want to show that all of us hit rock bottom and are close to giving up at some point – but somehow find the strength to rise again, stronger than before. There’s nothing more beautiful than vulnerability, no matter whether it’s conveyed by writing, music or photography.
It’s challenging to create this kind of art because it requires us to open up and show your innermost self. To be honest, I never thought I’d take self-portraits that show so much skin like the one on top of this post. I grew up in a very conservative environment in that regard so I was quite skeptical before publishing it. Will I regret it? What if people judge me?
Finally I published it, knowing that I’ll never get where I want to be if I don’t take the first step, make myself vulnerable and open up to criticism.
I’m a big believer in the concept of vulnerability. We’re only able to see each other for who we really are if we decide to put our armour down. That allows us to connect in a more meaningful way. I want to connect with you through my blog/conversations and my photography.
The hardest part besides learning how to express vulnerability through photography is probably finding models who are willing to open up and expose themselves like that. However, I believe that when I go ahead as an example, I’ll find people who join me soon enough.
Back to Keane, my inspiration – I know their music is not everyone’s taste, but there are so many fans like me who can relate to it and love it. That’s the kind of art I want to create. It doesn’t have to please everybody, but as long as it’s raw, honest and inspiring to at least some people, I’m more than happy.
One day I’ll hopefully create photos that are emotionally as powerful as their music.