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Updated: Jan 8

Starling is 44 photos.

Someone asked me if there was a photo I had taken recently that changed the way I shoot or see the photos I make. I found this question really hard to answer. A lot of the self portrait sets I make are parts of a process, aspects of a fluid attempt at making or capturing something specific. And even that specific aesthetic desire evolves over time, informed by results of past shoots as much inspiration in the present. It is a feedback loop - the images aren't static so it's hard to point to one and say this is where something changed because every one is an attempt at something as well as a reaction.

Even within a set of photos, each photo is a response or reaction to the one before it - like a chain - every photo correlates to a change in the next photo. Much like the way starlings move so synchronously. The change in each attempt arises and ripples spontaneously across each individual photo. Like the birds who are never led by a single individual, the end result of photos is not led by a single image. When one starling changes direction or speed, each of the other birds in the flock responds to the change, and they do so nearly simultaneously. In essence, information moves across the murmuration, or the image set, very quickly and with nearly no degradation - the change moves smoothly, but in a non-linar direction - only a slight alteration of pitch or loft.

But this set, Starling, marks a significant change in the method and mechanics of the photos I take, leading to a very distinct but maybe subtle difference in the results. The mechanics of this shoot are very different from almost all the other self portraits sets and films I made so far. Prior to this shoot I was shooting with an app that linked my camera to my phone. this allowed me to control the cameras settings while shooting, as well as see through the camera viewfinder on my phone screen to set my compositions and pose.

the more comfortable I got self shooting ... the more the phone started to feel like something that was standing between me and the camera

But, the more comfortable I got self shooting this past year, the less I wanted to interact with the viewfinder, the more I wanted to capture motion and transition and dropped pose moments, the more the phone started to feel like something that was standing between me and the camera, not making the camera more accessible. I wanted to shoot more by intuition and feel and less by sight, so I went and I got a remote trigger.

Starling is the first shoot completely blind, with the camera setup through intuition without a subject ( me ) in frame, shutter closed around moments constructed only from a mental map of my body in space in relationship to the camera.

I love them.

There is a lot more motion in them, and I think there's a lot more freedom in the posing, more openness and more unguarded moments. I think there's a level or a layer of unselfconsciousness. Maybe I'm the only one who can see it...But I still think it's a significant change in how I see my photos, and myself.

Starling is 44 photos.

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