|SINKING 2 by Elissa Jane Diver|
(Direct Positive Silver Gelatin Paper. Unique print, 5 x 4in)
Why did I choose Elissa to photograph me and why have I included a second photograph by her in my project. I shall answer the second question first - because I could not choose between them both. They were each of them too good to reject. This one tells more of being submerged, of falling, of sinking.
After our false start on the beach (see previous post), Elissa decided to go into the studio to replicate what she had been experimenting with already. She had developed the photograph of me in the sea but her initial reaction was "What is that man doing in my seascape??" I liked it when Elissa showed it to me but it did not work for her. So, in one of the coldest studios I have ever been in, we started working on these images but Elissa was not satisfied with the results so we moved on to another studio, this time at the University where Elissa had recently completed her BA. Immediately, I could see that Elissa was more relaxed and in the groove in an environment she knew and loved. I think we tried some shots standing up against a black backdrop and then lying down and it was when I was lying down that I adopted this pose. Again, Elissa felt that she could improve on what she had done and we returned to the same studio some weeks later but by this time, Elissa knew just what she was after and I knew that she knew and Elissa knew that I knew that she knew. Enough.
What is it about this photograph that I like so much? I am completely bare, giving myself up to my fate, sinking into oblivion in slow motion.but, at the same time, luxuriating in the moment as my left hand drags across my chest. My body twitching at the sensuality of the fall as my skin brushes against the darkness and an invisible force drags me down into the abyss. Indeed, is it my hand on my chest or is it the hand of one of those who inhabit the underworld waiting for someone like me to fall and be swallowed up like a dead leaf being dragged into the earth by a worm? It is a gorgeous image. I love it. I love them both. For what they say and what they do not say. For what they show and what they do not show.
This is the answer to the first question.
The photographs were taken on Direct Positive Paper loaded into a 5 x 4 camera. The exposures were long as the paper reacts more slowly to the light than film.