Sculpting of Endless Passages

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Sculpting Passages

Sculpting of Endless Passages

I just returned from 4 days of portfolio reviews at Fotofest, my first experience at this stage, and with this work, since college. It was a daunting experience to say the least, filled with anxiety and wrapped in a blanket of fear. I had solid goals going into the reviews and felt much like I’d been hit with a freight train coming out. To say the least, it was mentally and emotionally exhausting, but certainly good practice for summing up your work to a total stranger in under a minute…in preparation for a 20 minute review! And boy does that time go fast. Too fast in some occasions.

While I won’t go into details over what was said, because in the end, it doesn’t really matter all that much. I received good feedback and some that was a little lackluster. But such is the way of a purely subjective endeavor. Some get it and some don’t…and that’s okay.

What I found most surprising was the emotional response I had to the sum total of 21 reviews. It reminded me of one particular semester my junior year in college. My 19 year old self felt attacked by one professor who shall remain nameless. Let’s call her AL. She fought me every step of the way, refused to take in my intentions into account, pushed me in directions that felt unnatural – in attempt to please her to keep up my GPA. I deconstructed my own ideas to the 5th degree and when I attempted to start the next piece, she somehow expected the new piece to take off right where the 5th one ended. How is this even possible when it took that many steps to wind up on Square E? Baffled, angry and irritated, I barely skated out of that class with a B. But during the next semester, my work chartered down a completely different course. My collages became more personal, more intricate and on another plane altogether from my previous work. To some degree, it’s the same path I currently travel down, only my tools have changed. I remember AL coming up to me at our senior exhibition and commenting on how far the work had come…and how good it was in comparison. And while I defiantly refused to give her any credit for the transformation, I have to admit she pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged my way of thinking.

With all that in mind, after the mental dust settles and I can review my notes with clarity of thought, I’m excited to see the next transformation, however subtle it may be. Because if I am really honest with myself, we are all a work in progress.


Behind the Scenes of a Conceptual Photograph

Photo Credit – Sarah Nieman

A Sculpting of Endless Passages was born from a trip with many other photographers at Watkins Glen, NY. The ever so talented, Robert Cornelius, invited a slew of us Up State and surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, we all said YES! I can’t recall now how many of us there were, but we took up two houses and several beds. We also spanned the country from California to Florida and up the East Coast to Maine.

Beauty reached out from every angle in this place. Even our house looked out over the finger lakes and I was able to drag my butt out of bed one morning to catch the sunrise.

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I would have to say that the best part of these photo adventures is making new friends and building upon current friendships.

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There was no shortage of cloaks or swords!

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And the running joke: Photographing a girl and you ask her to put on a dress. Photographing a guy and you ask him to take off his shirt!

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The main attraction to Watkins Glen is the park with gorgeous waterfalls and winding rivers sculpting time into gorges. And since we arrived in November, we missed access to the falls by one silly, stupid day! Oh, the plans I had for those falls, especially coming off the summer in Iceland and creating Where the World Bleeds White…yes, I had plans! But upon crossing the bridge, I looked down into the gorge with winding waters and carved rock and realized all hope was not lost.

Aleah, an amazing photographer in her own right, agreed to model for me. And like a pro, situated herself in a thin dress upon the cold ground while I focused and directed until I got the intended shot. She has this quiet, fierce sensibility about her. I could tell she puts that same focus into her own work. Thank you for bringing my image to life so beautifully.

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And I would be remiss if I didn’t share this image, another creation from that crazy weekend! Robert asked me to model for him and so now I shall live on forever in a piece of artwork as a Mistress of Mystery!  Check out his blog here.

© Robert Cornelius Photography

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