all images copyright kate levy 2011. all rights reserved. use of images is strictly prohibited without express consent of author.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I am working

I'm just not blogging.

But here's something I wrote in response to the question I've learned to dread.
Names omitted because people tend to google themselves.

Originally, I started taking photographs because I was in love with the high school photography teacher, KW. She was untamed, sexy and tortured. She was having sex with Mr. C, the middle school English teacher who listened to the Gin Blossoms. Mr. C is the only reason why I could ever tolerate the Gin Blossoms. Once, Mr. C drove me home from a community service event. My dad and I had gotten into a fight that day because I asked him for a ride at the very last minute. I eluded to Mr. C that my dad had hit me, even though it wasn’t true. This is around the same time that I wanted to be an actress. 
I think KW was also why I started contemplating whether I was gay. It started where everything still starts for me--hypochondria. KW had a rainbow sticker, so somewhere inside of me, torturing myself by pondering if I was gay seemed real and foreign enough to start. Eventually it turned into some assemblance of a truth. As luck would have it, I loved the rhythm of making pictures. I loved my rhythm of making pictures. 
Sometimes I feel I should have been born differently--the misconception of what authenticity might feel like. This is my reality: this plethora of luxury on one end, sometimes gorged with garbage, sometimes with streamlined ease, and my human need to survive that has become as benign as horses in Central Park. Survival is leisure. Outward Bound, novelty. Survival has been hijacked by the necessity of subway turnstiles. Think about human confusion: all these mechanisms in our body for nothing--or for something completely different from what what they were intended to do. Lab rats in a wheel, surrounded by everything we don’t need but can only use. So we eat and eat and eat. When I make pictures I forget to eat. Sometimes I can’t eat anything until I have photographed that day. Sometimes I know I’m finished shooting when I’m hungry again. Photography has become a way for me to pinpoint my own existence.
Photographing can also be a very dissociative act for me. In portraiture, I often scare the subjects--because my eyes are doing all of the seeing. People will always be able to tell when they are being stared at. Always. They feel defiled when they are for the eyes only. Very often, I obsess over a vision and its meaning, and I ruin the shot that never was. I confuse this NEED to get the shot, with the much more applicable desire to enable the camera to disappear. In this way, photographing is the act that makes me exist less and less in the service of performance.
This is my meditation: I feel something, so I see something, and I see something, so I feel something. The disappearance of the camera. I’m trying to justify my images with my own experiences, not from concepts I think might pass as interesting. I want the pictures I take to come from my specifics, and open doors to a landscape outside of myself.