Hey, cyber-pedestrians. I’ve moved: http://www.annagay.com
Ever since my Vaudeville series, I’ve been fascinated with not only the art of ventriloquism, but ventriloquists in general. Evan and I recently watched a documentary about ventriloquist Nina Conti called “Her Master’s Voice.” In the documentary, Nina inherits some puppets that belonged to her mentor, who had recently passed away. The film documented her journey from the UK to Fort Mitchell, KY, to a place called Vent Haven, which is a museum of puppets belonging to ventriloquists throughout the years. While she was in the US, Nina also went to the world’s largest ventriloquist convention.
A ventriloquist convention!!!!
I had no idea such an amazing event existed.
I really enjoyed the footage from the convention, and the interviews with the ventriloquists. I was fascinated by how many of the ventriloquists noted that they were either shy or introverted, but, through their puppets, they were able to say things that they may normally be afraid to say if they were just being themselves, without a puppet as a vehicle. I can relate to that feeling, because I feel that way about photography. They also said that ventriolquism, for them, is more than just a way of entertaining others, but a means of expressing their innermost thoughts. Again, I can totally relate to that sentiment. My photography is, without a doubt, performance-based. I do want my photos to entertain, but they are also a way for me to express things that I can’t put into words.
So, we can now add visiting the Vent Have museum to my bucket list!
Our scanner seems to be on its dying breath. I can’t scan anything without getting terrible lines across my images, and they seem to be getting worse and worse. Evan and I both have done all we can short beating the scanner with a sledgehammer. I really don’t feel like going to school just to scan film, so I’m probably going to be MIA until I get this situation figured out.
While doing some research online, I found that it is nearly impossible to find any threads discussing the South without religion coming into the equation. My current series of images has several characters, with varying story lines, so I felt as though I needed to somehow incorporate religion and spirituality in the South through some of the images in this series. While I want to create images that could be anywhere/anytime-United States, I do live in the South, so the topic of this region is bound to come up in my work. And, invariably, when discussing the South, religion comes up, for better or worse.
Personally, with these images, I’m not really trying to say anything. I want to create one moment, and let the viewer create their own moment-before and moment-after when they look at the images. We are so bombarded by images from various media nowadays, if I can get one single, solitary person to pause on any of these images for just a fraction of a second, I will have accomplished what I set out to do.
I was telling Evan yesterday, my new motto for the series I’m working on is “find the light, and do something in it.” As photographers, we understand how important light is, but, I think a lot of us may observe light on a subconscious level as we are making photos. I think light is something I have been taking for granted, and want to begin to use it in a more conscious way.
Towards the end of my time in undergrad when I was studying theatre, I found that I was more interested in lighting design than performance. This was a bit of a problem, seeing as how I had spent four years on the performance studies track, and wasn’t about to change my track to lighting. I was more interested in getting the hell out of Dodge than finding my calling in the theatre. Since then, I have been fascinated by the power of light – it can tell a story just as much as any dialogue.
I have been working on a new series lately. The working title is “Character Study.” It started off as a kind of goofy and lighthearted self-portrait series, and featured me as both women and men. I haven’t posted any of the images online yet, because, for the past month, I have been creating these new characters, and seeing where the series takes me. Plus, people online are really good at misconstruing things, and, I’m somewhat afraid that, taken out of context, some of the images will say something entirely different than what I want to say, or what I’m ready to say. This series has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, to say the least.
Ultimately, I’ve become more interested in telling short stories with these characters. So, what began as a character study is turning into a series of short stories within a series of photos. I’m also interested in identity, how we often manufacture our own realities, and how we develop habits of behaving (or performing) in certain ways according to society. I’m not exactly sure why these things interest me, but they do, so I decided to use that interest as fuel for this series. I am also curious to explore how simple I can keep these photos. My hope is that I can learn to tell a story through light, color and location more than relying on mugging and being theatrical in front of the camera.
Yesterday was really no different from any other day, except for the fact that I was developing a roll of 35mm film – that usually doesn’t happen. Evan was sitting outside the door of our “darkroom” (read: spare bathroom) as I was hanging my film to dry, when I exclaimed, “These aren’t my photos!” At first, I’m sure he thought that I had just taken some really rancid photos and didn’t want to claim ownership, but really, they weren’t my photos.
While I was in New York with the other photography grad students and our professor from UGA last month, a friend of mine on Long Island purchased two rolls of Tri X for me from a local camera store. Apparently, the owner of the store sold him a roll of already exposed film. How this happened is beyond me. But, if something wacky is going to happen, it usually happens to me.
So, what you’re seeing here is a complete stranger’s shots double exposed with mine on top. I had no way of knowing this was going to happen, as the film canister looked completely normal, and even had the appropriate amount of film sticking out of the canister for me to load it into my camera. All signs pointed to the fact that this was a new roll of film.
I really don’t know what else to say about this. Personally, I’ve never had this happen to me, and I’m a little bit flabbergasted by the whole situation. Ultimately, I would really love to find out who this film belonged to, but I know that’s a long shot. I know how terrible it feels to lose a roll of film, so I think it would be really neat to let the people in these photos know that someone found their film (albeit, I shot over their shots, but that was an accident).
Here is the only information I can give you:
The film was purchased at a camera store in Syosset, New York – Long Island
It is 35mm Kodak Tri X
A few weeks ago, Evan and I were shooting at Mount Zion when someone drove up. In the 3+ years we’ve been shooting there, we haven’t seen another human being. I was not pleased at first, as I was on a mission and had some shots in mind, and when I’m on a mission, I’M ON A DEATH MISSION. However, I ended up not being mad because we got kidnapped by this guy and his (I think) 8-year-old son who showed us around Sparta and introduced us to some very kind people, who welcomed us into their beautiful home, and, in general, the amazing history of Hancock County, GA. He also took us to Pomegranate Hall (above), which I have always wanted to photograph, but, ever since our fun little experience with the administration at Central State, I’m wary of going anywhere that I have the slightest chance of getting into trouble. But, this time, we were with someone who had permission to be there, so I was pretty thrilled. The house burned years ago, unfortunately, but his hope is that the ruins can be preserved and turned into an historic site, similar to Barnsley Gardens in North Georgia.
What I was not thrilled about, however, was that I only had my Holga and a roll of Crossbird.
The moral of the story: always be prepared, because you never know who you’ll meet.