Gazing at Photographs
We look at that which attracts, excites, interests and provokes. It offers us a mirror of what we know or an escape from what we lack. It is a door, an invitation, into another world or place. It conforms, unsettles, confounds or develops our vision of the world.
As a theatre director, you may begin with the words the playwright has written (a traditional play process), which then develops into concept or “vision” with the actors and designers, which is then presented to an audience for their enjoyment, consumption and connection.
As a photographer, I am invested in using both myself and others and connect with Lacan’s ideas on identity and self, combined also with Jessica Benjamin’s ideology on the self through her book “Bonds on Love”. Through the theories of self, of others and the construction of one’s identity.
I look to see others. I look to see myself. I look to explore and expose.
I also aim to contradict and confound. To suppress my own ideas and concepts and look beyond what I think and feel.
An old person directing a young Juliet and Romeo. Do they want to be either of this young couple, falling in love for the first time, finding a new intimacy? When an audience watches, are they waiting hungrily for the first youthful kisses? Is the old-person director, working on King Lear, thinking on their own mortality?
As theatre directors and photographers, we are often seen as voyeurs on the lives of others, and that the audiences are complicit in this contract. Though practitioners such as Bertolt Brecht and his theories on breaking the “fourth wall” went against this traditional practice of creating a naturalistic performance, in an attempt to distance the world of the play from the base emotions of the audience, in order to highlight the more political and social constructs within a play. Conversely, theorists such as Jerzy Grotowski and Antonin Artaud expounded a more physical, emotional and revealing performance style with the aim of exposing more of the emotional journey of the characters and greater connection with the performer and audience.
With a broad stroke opinion upon my working practice, I feel that within my work I look to draw the viewer into a world I am seeing, experiencing and understanding, while at the same time, asking questions of their own desires, fantasies and experiences.
BENJAMIN, Jessica. 1988. The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination. 1st ed, 1988 Pantheon Books.
Jerzy Grotowski. Wikipedia page. [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Grotowski (accessed 28 Feb 2020).
= Antonin Artaud . Wikipedia page [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin_Artaud (accessed 28 Feb 2020).