Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goals and Objectives

It feels like spring has hit Montana today. The temp is in the 40’s, all the snow has melted, and I am feeling like I want to get out and clean the hillside behind the studio. Well maybe at least get outside for something.

I began looking at my objectives I set on the second day of this project when this project began. “My goal here is to explore my own artistry and desire to create beautiful images of the male nude and expose my inner sensual/sexual identity though a daily blog. The project: for one year I will post a new image each day that I have created and examine my need to create it.” At that point I had not real vision of what I wanted or needed to achieve with the project and could set no quantifiable goals because I had no concept of where the project could possibly lead. In my head I basically wanted to force myself to come to this process everyday, grow, and hopefully make what I was doing somehow marketable or profitable. I had a strong desire to connect with other artists and become a part of an international collective of male nude artists. I wanted to break down some of the barriers, fears, and phobias that surround the male nude as an art form with my eye always toward some sort of commercial success. I felt the world around me was collapsing as my world of standard commercial photography began to decline and evaporate. I began the beginning of the year completely shaken and apprehensive in which direction to actually move. I recognized one of the explorations of photographing men nude was one of my passions, but I didn’t really have the confidence in my ability to pull off such an endeavor. The major obstacles I had to overcome was being in Montana and the already over saturated marketed of male nude art; perhaps I should say access to naked men online. So I guess all along I knew the project would mostly be a self-exploration, which indeed it has become. But more then anything I wanted to become a recognizable artist who had a passion for creating a healthy vision of what the nude male could embody without derogatory or explicitly sexual connotations. I am, and have always been, interested in how we deal with ourselves in that moment when we are raw and bare, naked, fully exposed. I live in an era and culture, well here in Montana, where others rely heavily on picking each other up for sexual encounters, and anonymity rules these encounters. You see we really don’t have bars here or a practical means of socialization. In Missoula, many people meet via the Internet hookup sites like Manhunt, Adam for Adam, Craig’s List, and we have several very active bookstores filled with glory holes, so you don’t even have to see the person you are engaging with. Many of these sorts of encounters seem to lack any sort of emotional connection, thus separating us from our true sensuality. Many of us are isolated from each other as our sexual identity becomes compartmentalized. Part of what I began to discover early on with photographing males nude was that it brought a greater self-esteem to many of the subjects I shot, giving them a better vision of who they were, healthy, strong, romantic, beautiful, and sexually alluring, showing them a new way they could see themselves that was not demeaning or degrading. Something I wished someone had taken the time to show me when I was that age. You see most of my life has been a struggle for a healthy vision of myself, something I just couldn’t see for myself. Something I learned by making lots of bad choices and often, harmful mistakes. I have never charged for these sorts of shoots; we are a poor country with little money for such endeavors, and my policy has always been an exchange for image or other work sort of approach. My process is highly experimental and the subjects would allow me the time to experiment and explore new lighting themes for other more commercial work. But somehow it is this process that endures and becomes the true essence of myself that quantifies the objective. There really is no price to be set on this. Though I offer these images for sale, I have yet to sell a single image. Perhaps the work is to personal and thus does not really qualify as art. Though I have named it art throughout the year I am beginning to see the possibly it is not art at all and my approach as been null. Perhaps it only has meaning to those who have been through my process with me. Have I met the goals of my objectives I set in the beginning? I think so; I have brought myself to the process nearly everyday for a year and exposed my inner sensual/sexual identity through my imagery and words. It has not been a commercial success whatsoever, but I have connected and communicated with that community of artists I have always looked to for adoration. This project now draws to a close with a greater sense of self-satisfaction as I know I have only changed a small corner of my world.

VIEW FULL IMAGE: Travis #384

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