Human connection… It’s become the life-blood of my work. It’s the ultimate experience that I’m in search of when I conceive an idea for a shoot.
I told you I would give you a little bit more information on my Brutal Honesty project. As I said in the previous post, this project is extremely dear to me and close to my heart. As it was coming together, there was no way that I could have known just what it would become.
In any good art series, there are a set of constants and variables that you adhere to. This one is no different in that way and those perimeters formed very naturally through conversation with Lisa, who helped bring this project to life.
As I said in the previous post, Brutal Honesty is an exploration of emotion. Real emotion. There are 9 distinct and tailored emotions selected, based on the individual that’s chosen to be the subject. Those are then put into a specific order.
With those emotions in mind, I have the subject select music that goes with each one. We all have music that we listen to when we’re angry or when we feel loved. The songs are personal and speak to us in a very specific way. This music is paralleled in order with the emotions, used during the shoot and guide its timeline. The music becomes an “usher”, if you will.
The project is called Brutal Honesty for a reason, and that reason is because it is 100% raw and vulnerable. This is not acting. The subject actually experiences each of the 9 emotions in a very real way. It’s one hell of a thing to choose to go through. Putting one’s vulnerability in the hands of another is just not something we commonly do. In fact, I would dare say that we’re more likely to give away our love before we are our vulnerability. It’s powerful!
The following is what I discovered about the project and the process of it after being able to look back on it.
First, the person choosing to be the subject must be in a very particular place. There must be something broken within them.
Second, that person must have the bravery to face that brokenness head on. To hand over their vulnerability and trust that the other person (me) will take the utmost care with it. There’s an amount of fear in taking on this task. Lisa herself almost backed out of the project but made herself push through.
I also learned just how powerful it was for me to know some of the inspiration behind the songs chosen.
In Lisa’s case, I had her arrive early so that she could get comfortable with the setting and so that we could go over a few details. While discussing the music, she told me why she selected the songs she did. Some of those reasons had heartbreaking stories behind them, and my eyes watered with tears just hearing those stories alone.
Even then, I didn’t realize how vital this information was, but as soon as we were shooting and the music shifted, I saw her own emotion and body language shift with it and I knew exactly what was happening in her mind. It connected us in that moment. I knew then that this was special. I knew that this was not just another series.
So often, we sensor our connections with those around us. So often, we deny one another the warmth of us sharing a moment and reveling in it. I knew in those moments of connection that Lisa was going to be okay. More than okay. I knew that I was.
I hope sooner than later to bring you even more details about Brutal Honesty and to unfold it for you in a way that shows my heart and the heart of the project. Today though… connect. There’s so much censorship in our lives, both good and bad, but don’t sensor your humanity.