Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just for Me: OSC Introduction

One Step Closer... that's what I decided to name this project. I have probably explained why dozens of times and each time I do so, something changes. Whether it's because someone new I photograph gives it a new meaning, or because circumstances change amongst friends. One thing remains constant though, and that is the purpose of this project. We all have moments that we aren't entirely happy with ourselves. Our appearance, what we feel we're worth, where we belong... all these insecurities that we may not share with anyone at all, cloud our minds from time to time. Sometimes we look in the mirror and just don't even want to 'see' ourselves. I am one that suffers from this state of melancholy often. It has nothing to do at all with being unhappy or emo like some of my friends will call it... it's seasonal, some times even momentary. Months ago I had one of my 'down spells' and took the time to analyze my friends... whether I was alone in feeling this way or were they having the same thoughts at times. It started with one of my girlfriends. I asked, Why do we wear make-up? And she responded it's to make ourselves look pretty. I'm honestly thinking, "You ARE pretty." The conversation went on and on and we talked about what we don't like about each other... and I reached the conclusion that my girlfriends all felt the same way I did sometimes. But, were the guys also this way? One night, I had it all come to me. I was talking to a friend who means a great deal to me about this topic. I remember getting all flustered and emotional about it and he did the one thing I wasn't expecting. He poured all those feelings that I had inside myself out to me about himself. I went to sleep that night, after thinking about all he said over and over, with the biggest smile on my face. Not because I was happy that, "Hey! There is someone who feels the way I do." But instead because I wanted to change that. I wanted to do something that would help them see themselves the way that I saw them. I know the hopeless feeling all too well, and when I see it in others, it makes me angry. Saying things only helps in the moment, there had to be a better way, a reminder. 'A picture is worth a thousand words.' Um yes, all those words I wanted to say, I would tell them with a picture. A picture that would portray just how amazing each and every one of them are. And so, this idea blossomed into a project. I shared my ideas with a couple friends and it grew into something I wish I would have thought of before. I'm making a yearbook portfolio of my friends [ & every one I ever went to school with ]. I'm encouraging each and every one of them to come out of their shell. To see themselves differently. To get one step closer to me, so that I can capture the real them, the real - You.
Now, this would be all rose colored glasses if only I wouldn't have had a major technical disgrace. My third day of shooting, after completing 6 mini individual sessions that same day, my laptop crashed. I got that clicking sound of death and later the question mark gray folder that might as well say, KILL ME NOW. I was at home with one of the girls and nearly had a heart attack. I rushed to the Apple store the very next morning to see what was going on. They had no good news... only things like - We can't even recognize your drive. This had never happened to me before. Losing session pictures? Yeah right! I make a CD and back them up... no chance of a slip up. Well, yes chance. It happened. I even sent the drive off to a data recovery company and there was nothing they could do. I cried SO much about it. Because even if I were to re-shoot, it wouldn't be the same. Those pictures I lost are still in my mind. Ovi and his death grip on the chicken, Stephanie & Coco romancing, Laura and her flip hair shot, Adrian laying down turning his face at me... they are gone. I was really discouraged and didn't want to keep shooting. I wanted to abandon the project altogether, because it didn't seem meant to be. But, then I had that same boost of confidence that I wanted to instill in them, focused on me. I was reminded that it didn't matter anymore what I had lost, that we would do it again, that it was ok, that now I just had to do it better... and he was right. I had to continue. I had lost all my sessions but one. ONE.
They say everything happens for a reason and I like to believe so. That one shoot left was quite a significant one. After all, he was the one who inspired the whole shooting idea. You've seen him before on the sneak peaks, and if you happen to be a friend of his on Facebook, he switches in between all the project pictures as his profile, meet Ray. Raymet. My cover boy.
I knew that he was going to make me practically beg him to participate, not because he didn't want to do it, but because he has the word NO on a ticker that he must complete a high quota of on a daily basis. Lucky me, he saves them for every time I come up with one of my genius ideas. Ray and I became friends in one of the most awkward ways possible. You know those signs that usually make you run away from people, or cross over to the other sidewalk just so that they won't even make eye contact with you... that pretty much SHOULD have been our reaction. But we have proven that two suicidal crazies can actually understand each other and not plot ways to drive each other mad. Instead, we balance. He listens to me repeat "Oh today was such an emotional day" on a daily basis and I get to discover one of his kazillion "Look what I can do" tricks. We never shut up but can be completely silent. RANDOM is our middle name. We know when to be there for each other and when there is no other option but space. I am myself around him and lately, that's something that's quite rare. There are no sugarcoated words and if tomorrow comes and he's not around, I know he will find me some ice-cream to make up for it. It's the perfect friendship I tell you.
I had envisioned the shot I wanted to capture of him long before I even persuaded him to do the shoot. It was so easy... the moment I had him in front of me I knew exactly what to say to get the exact reaction I wanted. This was my theory amongst friends. I wouldn't have to take some time to warm up and study their features and stuff. I already know them, I've looked at them countless of times. I've pictured them in my mind in different setups. Now it was just putting it all together. This next one is my favorite. :)
I'm honestly trying really hard not to be all mushy. Because every time I speak of my friends I can ramble on and on... so let's see if I can keep this one short. (Haha) Ray, I LOVE YOU! Thank you for being you and only you know what that means. For bringing me down to reality when I seem to be thinking up in Lala Land. For being that strength that I need at times when I don't want to get up. For telling me off when I need it. For listening. For interrupting. For contradicting. For surprises. For reminding me that I know what I am doing. For believing. For trusting. And for caring more. Everything that falls in between is a memory. We've evolved. "I just knew you were going to be something more than just a person I know from a distance." :)
Up next I will be showcasing my next friend/model and so on with everyone's pictures. I'm so excited to share! I will resume shooting in two weeks... so if you happen to land here on this blog and want to participate, shoot me an email. I am really looking forward to continuing in this wonderful approach at reconnecting with everyone and giving them that umph of celebrity status that we all need from time to time. Tootles!!
SOTD: You Found Me by The Fray

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