A Reflection Of Myself

Has this project actually become a reflection of myself?  Have I become Narcissus merely looking into a pool of water only seeing myself?  As the project comes to a close I am beginning to question the process from which it all springs.  I wonder if showing a man exposed and the process of exposing myself has really been appropriate.  Should such intimacy be left behind closed doors?  But I see such beauty in the world and classic art is adorned by such images.  I cannot imagine the world without such images of Hippolyte Flandrin’s “Young Man Beside the Sea” or the works of Michelangelo and Caravaggio exposing the soul without exposing man as he truly is: naked, alone, radiant.   Today’s image I had originally rejected because I could see myself working in the reflection of the mirror behind Chad as we shot.  Also the source of the light is visible over his shoulder.  To me images should be without either; flawless and seamless, to stand alone without distraction.  But such an image seems appropriate as I close this project because it shows me involved in the process and in a sense becomes a self-portrait, a reflection of a years work.

I went to the bank yesterday to make a deposit and all the female bank clerks seem to recognize me.  I popped into my friend Monica’s office, who is my banker there, and we began to chat.  She began to tell me how incredible the project has become and how touched she was by what I’ve been writing, particularly about the kid who committed suicide a while back.  As I watched her talk I could see how utterly moved she has been by the entire project.   Apparently it had become a topic of conversation amongst her coworkers, around the water cooler sort of stuff.  I had no idea she has been following the project at all.  The other day Thor said he was working at a place in Hamilton, a small community 45 miles south, when a woman came in and recognized him from the project, who also was moved by it.  I am suddenly becoming aware that I really do have a following of people in Montana that are mostly straight women.  It feels most everywhere I go, when I actually get out that people have a spark of recognition.  Perhaps this project has reached deeper into my own community then I originally thought.  My afternoon was filled with a sense of satisfaction that I am finishing the daily blog portion of the project knowing that I have had an influence on the world the surrounds me.  That the themes are universal that so many others in my community find their own truths in what I say.

Next week I am scheduled to work on a film project in Butte as a lighting consultant for the cinematographer.  I will also be working on the publicity images for the Montana Rep’s upcoming national tour of the play DOUBT.  So my week and days off are beginning to fill with other creative ventures.

What has brought me to this project is light; I am still deeply fascinated by light.  It has such a psychological impact on the way we attach emotional context to our world.  I know the upcoming weeks I will get back to my exploration of light.  I have grown so much this year and have paved my way for a remarkable future of creative exploration.  The new year will bring for me a greater sense of self confidence as I begin to reconnect back into the community that surrounds me, and reach out to other artists who are here.  This year long project has isolated and confined me a bit because it has consumed so much of my day.  Missoula is a fantastic place to get out and meet others, we have the most amazing coffee shops and restaurants of anywhere I have ever been in the world.  It’s time to move back into that social realm of living again.

The Naked Man Project will continue to grow, I have vast plans to clean through the old blog and begin to organize it.  My garden job has not been renewed for next summer, due to budget cuts, so my focus this year can be mostly on my own creation.  In a sense it is a huge relief.   It will now force me to find other ways to make money and see if I can somehow make my photography more fiscally viable.  So if anyone needs a photographer I am open for anything.  Right now my focus needs to be back to myself.  When I began this year I was at the prime of fitness in my life working out everyday.  But as my mornings were filled with blogging for a year, I have grown a bit soft from too much sitting.   It is time to bring that focus back to my physical self, to climb a mountain and look out over the vast wilderness that still surrounds me.