When the house goes quiet and its me and my crystals.
Sometimes people feel like they died and went to heaven.
A first kiss can do that, or beautiful love-making, or tasting true Belgian chocolate…
If I ever have the privilege of entering one of the spaces surrounded by Marc Chagall’s stained glass works, that is where I’d go…heaven.
The light would penetrate me instantly and probably paralyze me momentarily…I can only imagine such splendor.
It would be one of those things I would do, one of those bucket list items…wow.
I’m a complete “airy fairy” these days. I was diagnosed with ADHD this year, although I always knew I had it, so actually, I can say I started medication this year. Starting meds after decades of refusing it, or rebelling against it, or being skeptical about it…it’s a BIG switch.
So the light did go on and many parts of my brain are appreciative and eager receptors of new information now. And of course the elevated dopamine levels in my body changes me and the world outside of myself drastically. A grand shift, I believe, to new understanding. I’ve never been so in tune and open to nature.
So now my tendencies to lean towards ‘new age’ ideas and practices, are also elevated. That is also perhaps why my blogs have been quiet…I produce very little art when I am not tormented. Lately I’ve been busy teaching and studying and finding ways to incorporate certain metaphysical aspects in my art lessons.
I’ve been a practicing fine artist for almost twenty years now and I’m wondering if this hasn’t really been twenty years of non-chemical therapy; twenty years of low dopamine levels and blocked up chakras.
Ritalin, hypnotherapy and magick have brought on a massive paradigm shift in my life. So bear with me if my posts are going towards a new wave, as I move away from the rawness into something slightly more ethereal and esoteric.
As a feminist, new age spirituality has always been a direction I was hesitant to go towards. I don’t care for the cheesy, blingy spiritual wall art and fantastical imagery of goddesses and angels. This blog will surely still touch on the real, the corporeal…but Corporeal Femme is opening her third eye nice and wide.
As my spiritual experiences take me to deeper and deeper levels I am certain that we are all meant to be completely free. This is perhaps where all my anger comes from: we are just not free.
So in three weeks it’s my 20 year reunion at school.
Needless to say, I was kinda a wild one back in the day.
And here is me twenty years later, much poorer than I was in school (they don’t allow credit and debt for youngsters), I’m with minus thousands in the bank and I live in an old little flat in the very same town I went to school, 20 years ago. The others have houses and life insurance and big paychecks and all the rest, I suspect. So yeah, I have no material gains to show off with.
But in retrospect, fuck, I have more amazing shit inside this mind of mind than ever. I have love and a supportive family who are my rock. I have seen countries and dreams and magick and I’ve acquired some serious ass wisdom through loss, pain and wonderful experiences.
I wrote to a special high school friend of mine yesterday, he’s based overseas so he won’t make it to the reunion. I remember how he came to my house and took my out for ice cream and in his little car we shared our dreams with each other.
He made it there, to dream land. He did exactly what he set out to do, he got there. I didn’t. I went for plan B and although plan B brought the most incredible, unexpected treasures to my life, it wasn’t and still isn’t plan A.
I can blame bad decisions, or blame motherhood, or blame fear…but I won’t blame anything for this. My life aint over yet.
And plan A doesn’t just disappear into the mist. It is still right where it was. Perhaps even waiting for me to come and activate it.
They say schizophrenic people hear voices.
Peter Carroll writes:
An old joke puts its thus, “when a man speaks to a god its prayer , when a god speaks to a man its schizophrenia”… Many people hear voices without suffering any of the debilitating and dysfunctional effects associated with schizophrenia, some treat these as sources of inspiration of develop religious ideas around them, others become mediums or occultists.”
A few days ago, whilst meditating, a crisp, beautiful female voice said, loudly, inside my mind:
“Step into the moonlight.”
What a spiritual experience for me looking at the work of Rudolf Steiner.
“The exhibition moved many people and it carries a message: one does not need to be an anthroposophist to be able to read it. It is the message of the one source of energy which the whole world acknowledges – and only a child of our materialistic age could interpret that in a materialistic way. Here we feel the spiritual force of a holistic approach which really does make it possible to see the same energy at work in economic courses on values and prices as in reflections on the working of the spirit in nature. These blackboard drawings with their firm link to Beuys – the visual experience is, indeed, much the same – these enchantingly gentle energy fields were neither understood as snapshots of calligraphy nor as graphical works of art. But they bear witness to the wholeness of a being which is defined wherever it comes to expression, which can never deny itself.”
Basler Zeitung, 19 June 1993
This void is an impenetrable void. It’s a place filled to the brim with hunger. Not for love. Not for sex. Not for hubbies or daddies or besties either. A hunger for something that does not exist. It’s not a wish to be in a place or a space or with someone, it’s just a hunger, a damn hunger. For that thing, that person, that space, that feeling. It’s there, in the unreachable distance and when I near it, it’s gone.
The three of us (me and the girls) are taking a bath with candle light. The steam creates this eerie and wonderful setting. And now we are hearing the most beautiful account of who the middle sister is (my stillborn). My youngest say she saw her the other day. My oldest listens with wide eyes. “She had long hair, to the floor.” She now has our attention so she really goes all out. “And white skin. And glittery purple high heels. And we were having tea.” So we ask her a hundred questions, hungry to know every detail, hanging on her every word. “Is her hair curly or straight? Is she shy or not? Where did she go when you were done playing?” For that moment there exists no possibility whatsoever that she is not alive.
In artist Simon Evans’ world, the stories that we tell ourselves are the most important part and often the only way that we can find meaning in where we’ve been, where we are and where we might wind up eventually. His appropriately named exhibit, “Island Time,” hints at the loneliness inherent in life when home becomes nothing but a reconstructed memory. We’re left searching for an allusive sense of belonging and purpose in an entirely new place and all we’ve got is a nearly endless succession of days ahead.
Blogged from Interview Magazine
Laurie Simmons began showing her photographs in New York in the late ’70s: black-and-white, and then candy-colored scenarios with plastic dolls in 1950s-style domestic interiors. In one shot, a woman stands in a kitchen before a table packed with food; in another, a woman sits alone on a couch beside an open newspaper. The work depicts a lonely, befuddled domesticity, a vague sexuality without outlet, and there is an uneasy nostalgia to them.
Since her early days in the SoHo art world, Simmons, who was born in Far Rockaway, New York, has steadily produced ambitious and distinctive photo-based work. She’s continued to craft miniature scenes using iconography from the postwar American culture she grew up in, while bringing in fresh materials—wallpapers, ventriloquist dummies, cut-out bodies from magazines. In 2006, she directed The Music of Regret, a 40-minute film with an old-timey Broadway feel that includes songs (she wrote the lyrics), dancing dummies, feuding neighbors made of repainted rubber craft puppets from the ’60s—even a bewigged Meryl Streep. Simmons has also returned, on various occasions, to an image that has become one of her signatures—her “object-on-legs,” which began in 1987 with the Man Ray-esque Walking Camera I (Jimmy the Camera), in which a vintage camera she borrowed from the Museum of the Moving Image appears perched on the shapely, white-stockinged legs of a friend. From there, she put legs on a tomato, a house, a purse, a clock, a cake, a gun, and more. There’s an unmistakable feminist perspective to the work, a suspicion of gender roles and the narrow, immature, child-like lives and psyches they promote.
Simmons, now 64, is married to the painter Carroll Dunham, and together they have two kids, Lena and Grace. It’s a family of artists. Grace is a poet. Lena is Lena Dunham, who cast Simmons in her breakthrough feature, 2010’s Tiny Furniture, as Siri, an artist who photographs doll furniture and brittle mother to Dunham’s lost, post-collegiate character. Simmons has said that it took some work for her to get the role right. In real life, Simmons is anything but brittle—she is engaging, curious, and warm.
A new period of her work began in 2009, on a trip to Japan with Grace. Simmons entered a shop where she encountered a “love doll”—a life-sized, realistic-looking female mannequin, which men buy as a sexual aide and perhaps for companionship. (The doll comes with an engagement ring and a vagina, packed together in a separate box). She ordered one, then a second one, and shot them in various poses and costumes in her Connecticut home, ultimately dressing them as geishas. The Love Doll photographs are arguably the most striking of her career. The series reveals the burgeoning relationship between photographer and subject, and narrates the doll’s cautious discovery of her new life. A deep vulnerability that was captured in her early work has returned, matched by her seemingly infinite facility with the dolls.
More recently, she has been inspired by Japanese kigurumi culture, in which men and women go out in public dressed as life-size dolls. In one image, a female body dressed in red latex bondage gear, a huge, anime-style mask, and long, crayon-blue wig sits on a chair near a window. The figure seems neither human nor doll.
As Simmons was waiting for the last of her kigurumi masks to arrive from Russia, in preparation for her upcoming show of photographs at New York’s Salon 94 in March, we spoke over the phone, she in New York, I in Toronto.
SHEILA HETI: I love your Love Doll pictures. And I had a really weird reaction to them. I felt the way I sometimes feel looking at pictures of beautiful women in magazines, where I have a sort of desire to be them. It was impossible to keep it in my head that they were dolls, because there’s so much emotion in the faces—I kept having to remind myself: This is not a person.
LAURIE SIMMONS: You know, I’ve been working in my studio with a new assistant who I just adore, and she said, “I can’t believe that you turn the doll just a fraction of an inch, and the expression changes.” I said, “Well, that’s the spécialité de la maison—the house special. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years.” The challenge has always been to wrest emotion out of a face that we think of as only having one emotion. It’s moving a light, moving my camera; it’s just this mental investment that I make, and suddenly, everything changes. Parenthetically, I have to say, I don’t particularly like dolls, nor have I ever liked them. That’s something I really wanted to get out there right away. [both laugh]
HETI: No, it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like they’re a tool. It’s not that you’re obsessed with dolls any more than a painter’s obsessed with paintbrushes.
SIMMONS: I’m really happy to hear you say that because, you know, for every time someone says that, there are a thousand people who say, “My mother has this amazing doll collection I want you to see,” and I’m like, “Oh no, no. God save me!”
HETI: I want to talk about your Geisha Song video , where you shoot the love doll dressed as a geisha, the camera sort of circling around her as she sits very still. And you can see how the back of the doll’s head fastens, and you can see these little bumps on the skin that show that it’s manufactured. When I saw this video, suddenly the dollness of the doll came back. You don’t see any of those giveaways in the pictures. Did you make the video partly to reveal the very thing you tried to conceal in the photographs?
SIMMONS: No, and I was sort of upset at first, because I had a makeup artist work on the geisha makeup for hours, and there were some imperfections and dust in the studio, and under the scrutiny of the HD lens, you could see everything. So I thought about it and I talked about it with my husband, who’s basically my brain trust, and I just decided that this was the moment to let it be, that I couldn’t really fight it. And ultimately it became beautiful to me because I always edit out, you know, the coffee cans that hold up the set. I’ve always gone for a kind of perfection. So it was a big moment to see all that, let’s call it schmutz, on her face, and let it go. I’m stunned you noticed it.
HETI: Well, it struck me, because it took away the feeling of, “Oh, if only I was that doll.”
SIMMONS: But in the end, it’s so much better to get the feeling of, “Wow, she’s so perfect,” from a doll than to have to bear that from a woman in a magazine.
HETI: But it wasn’t only her beauty I was responding to. My desire to be her also had to do with the innocence you imbued her with. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever felt envy for a creature because they’re innocent, but that’s what I felt looking at those pictures.
SIMMONS: I always try so hard to find a male doll and shoot a male doll, and it always kind of implodes. Whenever I use men, they’re so scary and so dark, and I can never find this sort of lightness or this place between doll and human that I find with female dolls.
HETI: You’ve said that you wanted your photographs to be “dumb-looking.” I love that so much. I wonder where that came from.
SIMMONS: I think from the fact that my father gave me my first Brownie camera when I was 6 or 7. My father had a camera too. We would just go out in the backyard and he would tell us to stand there, and we would end up being a figure in the center of the picture. Like, there’s my sister in a party dress. There I am with a runny nose. It was the dumbest sort of framing job you’ve ever seen in terms of the conventions of picture-making, and I loved that. I thought, “Do I really have to do any more than that?” So in my early pictures of dolls and dollhouses and toy cowboys, I just stuck them in the middle of the picture.
HETI: It’s so confident, for one thing.
SIMMONS: I do remember at my very first opening in 1979 another artist coming up to me, and he was haranguing me, saying, “Did you really intend for these things to be so dumb? You just put it there and took a picture of it.” He wouldn’t let it go. So that’s what made me think about the dumbness aspect more.
HETI: There’s something else you said—that you didn’t want to go out into the streets, you wanted to work in your own home. I always feel like that too. I tried to get a studio and I couldn’t work there.
SIMMONS: I’ve tried that “get a studio” thing. It just doesn’t work.
HETI: All the emotions are in your house. How can you work so far from your feelings?
SIMMONS: Right. I mean, a few times, like when I shot underwater [Water Ballet series, 1980-81], I obviously had to go to swimming pools. But then after that, I started dropping little toys in tanks of water in my own house. There are times when I really need to go somewhere to shoot, but it never feels right. And I never wanted to be that person who I would see out on the street with their cameras, and they looked really strong and cool and tough, but I just kept thinking, “I’m not that person.” It felt like the actual act of shooting was a kind of performance.
HETI: That’s why I hate cafés. I could never write in a café.
SIMMONS: Right, we didn’t want to be that caricature of who we are. I love acting. I can’t believe how fun it is and how in-the-zone I am when I’m doing it. But I didn’t want to be an actor out there with my camera. Even after all this time, I think I’m still, in many ways, a terribly self-conscious person. I’d probably be shooting and think, “Well, how does my hair look?”
HETI: Is that part of why you’ve said that glamour, for you, is getting prepared for the party; it’s not being at the party?
SIMMONS: I think so. When you’re getting ready, you finally reach a point where your clothes are right and your hair and makeup are right, and you’re not comparing yourself to anyone. It’s a really great moment. Then you get to the party and it’s like, “Oh my god, I’m wearing the wrong thing! I’m garish!” or “I’m underdressed!” Of course, when I had kids, I would get dressed to go to the party and I would come out and they would say, “Mommy, you look so beautiful!” And it was all downhill from there. [both laugh] But I have to take a break and ask you: What about a little mermaid in a bottle who lives in her own shit and vomit?
HETI: I remember where I was when I wrote that story, “Mermaid in a Jar.” I was at a boyfriend’s, and he was the only boy I ever dated who was rich, and his parents had a ski chalet, and I just didn’t know how to break up with him, so I decided I would be celibate.
SIMMONS: That’s a good way. Unless he decided to be celibate too, and then you’d be perfect for each other.
HETI: We went to his ski chalet and he was kind of, like, a pot smoker and a drinker, you know, one of those wealthy kids who doesn’t know how to live because he’s probably intimidated by his father’s success and didn’t have to work. So he had just blown up at me for my celibacy, and I was in this horrible place and feeling so trapped, and I wrote that story.
SIMMONS: What I really love about the story is this almost little-girl fantasy quality colliding with real-world stuff. That’s something I really identify with.
HETI: I don’t know if you feel this way too, but I think there’s a kind of connection between the first work you do and the imagination you had when you were a child.
SIMMONS: That’s a lot of what I’m thinking about now, because I feel like I spent so much time trying to understand my identity and my identity as an artist. But when all is said and done, at this age, I feel the most like I felt when I was 11. And all those talents I had when I was 11 and 12—I’m letting them sort of happen again. So it seems, in some weird way, that—I can’t speak for men, but for women—we go back to a kind of pre-adolescent state when we were superfree and supercool.
HETI: I just got shivers all over my body. Did you know that Simone de Beauvoir says the same thing in The Second Sex? Women, post-menopause, go back to how they were before they started menstruating, and there’s this great freedom in a woman’s life when she reaches the end of that reproductive cycle, and that most women come into their own strength, the same strength they had as a girl.
SIMMONS: That’s amazing. I remember years ago hearing a gynecologist say, “Women report a great sense of calm and well-being post-menopause.” This was way before I was even thinking about it, but I thought, “Hmm, that might be something to look forward to. A sense of well-being!”
HETI: That’s part of the reason I decided to be celibate at that time. I just had read The Second Sex, and I was like, “I wonder if I can bring this on artificially,” the power I had when I was 11, or that confidence.
SIMMONS: Yeah, but I think the big news there—and we’re gonna go way off-topic—but most post-menopausal women I know are not celibate. But let’s have another interview for a medical magazine. [both laugh]
HETI: By the way, I couldn’t believe you made the Kaleidoscope House [series, 2000-02]. That is such an iconic thing from my childhood, not that I had one …
SIMMONS: Yeah, it’s a cool thing. I made a toy so I would have another prop, to be totally honest. It seemed like two worlds were colliding, with a big advantage for me. Also I thought, the daughters might like to play with it. So I made a doll that was Lena, and a doll that was Grace, and the cat in it was our cat.
HETI: Your parents weren’t artists, were they?
SIMMONS: No, my father was a dentist. And my mother was a—do we still say “housewife”? A home engineer. [laughs] I came to New York in 1973, and it’s funny. The first scene in Girls always cracks me up because Lena was never cut off that way, but my parents cut me off. I was the no-more-money girl. I think Lena probably borrowed heavily from my “real girl” struggles as a young artist in New York.
HETI: Do you think you and your husband passed on stuff about navigating the art world to Lena and Grace?
SIMMONS: I think they were very aware of the highs and the lows. It was impossible to hide the periods when there was extreme belt-tightening, because there were things we had to do, like sublet our house and move to a smaller place, or figure out a new way to live. Then there were also moments of, you know, you have an exhibition: no sale, no reviews. It’s hard not to get blue, and I think the kids were very aware of those periods. So if there’s anything they’ve picked up, it’s a kind of resiliency. That seems like a pretty good legacy.
HETI: Did you see a lot of people drop out?
SIMMONS: Oh, my drop-out list is long. I think about it so much, because there’s a kind of last-man-standing feeling. The thing I wondered about so much as a young artist, particularly when things weren’t going well and I was really struggling, was, “Will I know when to give up? Will I know when I’ve suffered enough rejection? Will I know when to get out?” But from my vantage now, I think it’s kind of what you have to do, why would you ever stop?
HETI: The thing I worry about is, what happens when your talent flees? Because you see that with writers sometimes, they start writing these awful books. And there’s something sort of horrifying about it.
SIMMONS: I think it might go away for a while, but then I really believe it could come back. It’s a series of peaks and valleys, like anything else.
HETI: In your marriage, do you have a feeling of being soul mates on an artistic level?
HETI: How does it work?
SIMMONS: It works really well. Our so-called “pillow talk” is so much about what we do. Not the specifics of how we make our work or what happened in the studio today as much as what it’s like to move your work from your mind to the studio to the world and, like, what exactly are we doing being artists in the 21st century?
HETI: What do you think is the main thing about being an artist in the 21st century?
SIMMONS: Well, I teach a graduate photo seminar at Yale, and I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the task the students set before themselves to be artists, because—it seems so quaint, but when I picked up a camera with a group of other women, I’m not gonna say it was a radical act, but we were certainly doing it in some sort of defiance of, or reaction to, a male-dominated world of painting. This was before the internet, before photographs on Instagram and online in magazines and newspapers. It’s just, how do you proceed? How do you find a place for yourself as an artist? The visual world has blown up, the world of writing has blown up; there’s so much text online. Anyone and everyone can express themselves. It’s a lot to think about as an artist. Also, that the persona of the artist might actually be of some importance. When I came of age, it was important to be quiet and hang back and be mysterious. I knew artists who didn’t even want to show up at their own openings. They never wanted to have their picture taken, didn’t want to autograph a book, didn’t want to answer a question. I came of age in a world where it was “Let the work speak for itself.”
HETI: When I was a teenager, I would read Dostoyevsky or I would read Tolstoy, and I’d never read an interview with Dostoyevsky. I had seen, maybe, a line drawing of his face, which made no impression on me. That’s the world I thought I would grow up into as a writer. And it’s not at all like that anymore. If somebody asks me to do an interview, part of me says yes in my mind and part of me says no, because I still have that romantic idea of the artist as somebody who you know through their work and that’s it. Warhol is who I think of when I think of someone who really used the persona of the artist in an interesting way.
SIMMONS: It’s hard to remember, but when I first came to New York, in the ’70s, artists were certainly divided about the Warhol persona, and about the work. I thought it was utterly cool—I thought the Factory was utterly glamorous—but there were a lot of artists I really admired and respected who were older that kind of dismissed it, couldn’t get it, and felt that there was a lack of seriousness about it. Hard to imagine now.
HETI: Can you tell me about your latest work?
SIMMONS: It’s inspired by these people called “dollers.” They perform kigurumi—it comes from Japan, but it’s a worldwide thing. They walk around in doll costumes publicly.
HETI: How do you cast the photos?
SIMMONS: I use people that are close to me, like a studio assistant or a friend, someone I know who’s going to really enjoy it. It’s important to me to have men inside there, too, because so many dollers are men. It’s putting me into a pretty odd headspace, the shooting, because I understand the motivation of these dollers to dress up. There’s a way that you start to prefer the reality of that world to your own world. It’s so much more beautiful. And the characters become really real to me, like, scarily real, so that when my studio assistant takes her mask off, I’m really disappointed that Danielle is no longer her character.
HETI: It’s such a great metaphor. Because in real life, with the people one knows—there’s the person you see and have access to, and then there’s the private person inside that person. These dolls are the same thing. There’s a person inside the person.
SIMMONS: I feel like I’ve finally got to this place that I really want to be. The place where, in my fantasy, the characters just get up and walk around—this interstitial place between humans and dolls. But I also feel like, where am I supposed to go from here? Because this feels like the place I’ve always wanted to be, for my whole life of shooting.
SHEILA HETI, A TORONTO-BASED WRITER, IS THE AUTHOR OF FIVE BOOKS.
Unattainable objects of desire
Forget for a moment that it’s called a “crush”, a word associated with bubbly handwriting, giggly pre-teens and folded pieces of coloured paper. And forget that the term may define those heartbreaking moments in your early romantic life when you roamed school hallways, edging closer, with that silent mantra echoing in your head: “Please look over at me, please look over at me, please look over at me.”
They may be childish, or they may be dangerous, time-wasting exercises in futility, but the way we deal with our secret love of unattainable people starts early in life and, in most cases, never completely ends. Though the teenage version is usually the first type we encounter, the crush plays just as big a part in our adult life as it does in our youth.
For years, the teenage crush was thought to be relatively harmless, but a few months ago, an American study released by the sociology departments of Cornell University and the University of North Carolina announced that the more time a teen spends on romantic thoughts, the more he or she is at risk of depression. It was once referred to simply as “moping about”, using valuable homework hours to choose what you will wear when Ben Affleck finally calls. But the new research hints that the crush may be the start of a slippery slope towards locked bedroom doors, black clothes, goth music and an all-out depression which could carry on into adulthood.
That is not the only downside. Where a normal crush gives off the warm glow of affection, with infatuation upping the temperature, at the far end of the spectrum there is a delusional disorder called erotomania, which makes people believe that another person is in love with them, even if there is no reason for that person to be so. The object of affection is likely to be someone socially prominent – a doctor, say, or a celebrity – and mostly the crush is limited to the erotomaniac’s own perfect world. But if they begin to take action to gain the attention of the crushee, an entirely different category opens up, called pathological infatuation.
The crush that gradually drifts into infatuation – the one that leaves you in a haze of absolutely desperate love – has its own inherent dangers. For people already in relationships, it can act as an entrée to the world of infidelity, secret rendezvous and calls from payphones.
But for most of us, happily, the crush is a far more innocent affair, a small spark that adds interest to one’s life. “A crush brings a little texture, a little colour to the world,” says Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist based at the London Medical Centre. “It feeds fantasy.”
Crushes are a “what if” game full of interesting but ultimately unattainable options, according to Karen DeMars, CEO and co-founder of the website e-crush.com, which has been charting the phenomenon for the past two years. “Say you’re in a grocery store,” DeMars explains. “You spot someone when you first come in, you keep passing each other, there’s something there. By the time you get to the frozen foods, you’ve had a crush for a while. These things just add a little decoration to life.”
The fast, minor crush usually evaporates by the time you’ve bagged your groceries. It has a built-in sense of honourable defeat – alas, fate has dictated that this was never meant to be. When crushes are lived out on this level, nothing can go wrong or disappoint; there is no time for faults to appear. These tiny, secret affairs don’t imply that you seek escape from an existing relationship; they’re just a way of acknowledging that attraction still exists out in the world, whether or not you’re involved with someone.
Some adults go on to become serial crushers, with one main object of affection following the next. Others begin a series of what DeMars calls “player-type crushes”, a wild polygamy of anonymous affection that could range from the grocery store shopper, to politicians, to the person in the cubicle next door. Both types of crush may at first appear to be time-wasters, but they can help you perform better in your everyday life. “If you’re visualising this perfect man,” DeMars says, “you can also visualise the sort of person you could become to get this guy.” On this path, crushes become catalysts, leading to bouts of self-improvement as a person with a crush tries their hardest to become noticeable. If handled the right way, the dream of being noticed by a crushee can force people to make changes in their lives that they would otherwise never have had a reason to make.
Then again, “There is always the possibility that the crush will just take over your life and you’ll become a big loser,” DeMars warns. For most, however, the risk of loserdom is small compared with the promise of that thin tremor of excitement, those extra palpitations, every time a certain someone rolls their cart down the frozen food aisle.
All my videos are now public here.
Reblogged from kagablog
The invented woman never lived, but she exists and makes herself noticeable. She is very beautiful, but different for each man. Ecstatic descriptions of her are given. Some men emphasize the hair, others the eyes. But there are discrepancies about the colour, from radiant golden blue to deepest black, the same holds for the hair.
The invented woman varies in size and has any weight. How promising the teeth, which she shows over and over again. Her breasts either shrink or swell. She walks, she lies down. She is naked, she is marvellously dressed. In regard to her footwear alone, a hundred different items of information have been gathered.
The invented woman is unattainable, the invented woman acts easy-going. She promises more than she keeps, and keeps more than she promises. She flutters, she tarries. She does not speak, what she says is unforgettable. She is choosy, she turns to everyone. She is as heavy as the earth, she is as light as a breath of air.
It appears questionable whether the invented woman is aware of her importance. That too is a topic of argument among her worshippers. Just how does she manage to make everyone realise: It’s she. Granted, the invented woman has an easy time of it, but did she have an easy time of it from the beginning? And who invented her to the point of unforgetableness? And who spread her across the inhabited world? And who idolized her and who sold her off? And who scattered her across the lunar deserts before a flag appeared on the moon? And who shrouded a planet in thick clouds because it was named after her?
The invented woman opens her eyes and never closes them again. In wars, the dying on both sides belong to her. Ages ago, wars blazed up because of her, today she visits men in wars and, smiling, she leaves them a picture.
Wanderlust by Sarah Anne Johnson, a photographer born in Winnipeg, Canada, interprets intimate and erotic moments in a surreal manner. Considering that the act itself can often be considered surreal, it is as though she is somehow attempting to capture the feeling involved when two people come together to copulate.
Asking friends and acquaintances to perfect such sexual acts as intercourse, foreplay, kissing and masturbation for her series, each activity was subsequently distorted in a variety of ways. Whether splattered with paint, covered with glitter or digitally manipulated in more eccentric ways, Wanderlust by Sarah Anne Johnson is somehow powerfully honest. Beautiful Decay notes, “[M]any of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.”
American Todd Hido is best known for his photographs of a haunting suburbia in ‘Homes At Night’. Widely exhibited in the United States and Europe, his eerie exteriors project feelings of unease and isolation, as the presence of people is devoid. Hido uses only available light and long exposures that make these saturated images almost glow off the print. His exploration into themes of loneliness continues through to his interior shots which are again absent of people, but suggest that a presence was once there – a door left ajar, a chair turned over, creased bedding. Less celebrated are his series of portraits, again set in vacuous places but this time with models. There is something intriguing about these that hold your gaze, as amateur, scantily clad models pose awkwardly for the camera.
Dazed Digital: What attracted you to suburbs in the first place?
Todd Hido: I definitely remember one day driving up a hill to a suburban neighborhood in the south of San Francisco and I found this completely fogbound neighborhood that very much reminded me of the place I grew up in Ohio. I started making pictures there that night and I’ve been visiting the suburbs ever since. That was about 15 years ago.
DD: There is a very unsettling atmosphere throughout your photography, is this always intentional and why do you choose to shoot such sinister shots? Are you a moody guy?
Todd Hido: I’m actually not a moody guy at all! But I can clearly see that my work is. I guess I’m attracted to that cinematic feeling where something’s about to happen. Kind of like a pregnant moment. I’m very much attracted to that kind of narrative element.
DD: Your work has a clear style – does anyone inspire or influence this?
Todd Hido: I am very much influenced by my past. I was a student of Larry Sultan’s about 15 years ago and he remained a good friend until he passed away last year. He was a clear influence on my work and I think that the most important thing that Larry taught me was to draw from within, to use your own history as the basis for your art.
DD: The quality of your images is incredible, what camera and film do you prefer to shoot with?
Todd Hido: Thank you–I appreciate that. I have been using the same camera for the last 20 years–a Pentax 6 x 7 medium format camera and I’ve been using Kodak Portra of 400NC film forever. One of the main reasons that my work looks the way it does is because I’ve printed in the darkroom myself. I’m still using all analog technology and I go to the darkroom a couple of times a week to print. This is a very important part of my process. In most of my work nothing is staged, I shoot like a documentarian, but I print like a painter, often my contact sheets look nothing like my final prints.
DD: Your latest work has been more portrait based, is this a change in direction? What’s next?
Todd Hido: Yes and no. I have actually shot portraits as long as I’ve been shooting houses but more recently I’ve begun to combine the two as I find that I really like what happens when you put a person with a place. It tends to open the door wider for more complex storytelling. And yes, I definitely have been moving more in that direction lately working with blending photographs taken with an old snapshot camera from the 70s. It definitely adds another layer to the story.
DD: There is a definite movie-like feel to your images, as you present the viewer with open-ended scenes. Could you see yourself going into films?
Todd Hido: At this point I don’t think so as I really like the singular challenge of making images one at a time and then combining them into a simple sequence. There is a really great quote the Lewis Baltz said that I think sums this up: “Photography is a profound corner that sits in between literature and film”
“Lisa Yuskavage‘s works are characterized by an ongoing engagement with the history of painting. Her oeuvre bears witness to a re-emergence of the figurative in contemporary painting and takes its point of departure in part in the immediacy and tawdriness of contemporary life spurred by the mass media and the psycho-social realm of the individual. Over the past two decades, she has developed her own genre of the female nude: lavish, erotic, cartoonish, vulgar, angelic young women cast within fantastical landscapes or dramatically lit interiors. They appear to occupy their own realm while narcissistically contemplating themselves and their bodies. Rich, atmospheric skies frequently augment the psychologically-charged mood, further adding to the impression of theatricality and creative possibility.”
Wangechi Mutu observes: “Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.” Piecing together magazine imagery with painted surfaces and found materials, Mutu’s collages explore the split nature of cultural identity, referencing colonial history, fashion and contemporary African politics. In Adult Female Sexual Organs, Mutu uses a Victorian medical diagram as a base: an archetype of biased anthropology and sexual repression. The head is a caricatured mask – made of packing tape, its material makes reference to bandages, migration, and cheap ‘quick-fix’ solutions. Mutu portrays the inner and outer ideals of self with physical attributes clipped from lifestyle magazines: the woman’s face being a racial distortion, her mind occupied by a prototypical white model. Drawing from the aesthetics of traditional African crafts, Mutu engages in her own form of story telling; her works document the contemporary myth-making of endangered cultural heritage.
Gregory Crewdson works within a photographic tradition that combines the documentary style of William Eggleston and Walker Evans with the dream-like vision of filmmakers such as Stephen Spielberg and David Lynch. Crewdson’s method is equally filmic, building elaborate sets to take pictures of extraordinary detail and narrative portent.
Please don’t die
Don’t let your heart fail me
Your birth date does not agree with me
Your personality is too stunning to be a fading flame.
Stay with me, Doc, stay with me far away in your world I feel so close to.
“I kept having dreams all night. I thought they were touching me with their fingers. But dreams don’t have fingers, they have fists, so it must have been scorpions.”
― Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives