Monday, November 14, 2005

The Toilet Shot

I use the toilet shot for my portrait because it is immediately humorous, but it has a story.

I went to spend three weeks at the Santa Fe Workshops and was in my third week when this image was taken. Each week there are about seven different workshops happening and being each lead by a different photographer. As I was a self-taught photographer and eager to learn the basics, I was on a course called Designing a Photograph by Bill Smith. Paul Elledge was teaching Contemporary portraits and gave a slideshow of his work to all the workshop students. All the teachers gave slide shows of their work and they were always eye-opening. But Paul's work just blew me away. I had been on course for 3 weeks and seen great work by people like Joyce Tennyson, but something about Paul's portraits kept me up awake.

A friend of mine had said that the men's toilet was an interesting space to shoot. So wide awake at 3am in the morning, I went to take photographs of the men's toilet at the Santa Fe Workshops! As I was shooting myself in the mirror, a groggy workshop attendee stumbled into the toilet to relieve himself and I just took the shot!

The next year I took a workshop with Paul Elledge in Tuscany and took my series of images on Freedom. Wesley, my friend and fellow photographer, told me that I learnt more in that week in Tuscany than in the 3 weeks that I had spent in Santa Fe.

Next year, I will be spending three months interning at the studio of Paul Elledge during my sabbatical.

So it is not just a toilet portrait.


kiampa said...

That's such a great story.

pfong said...

I was wondering about that shot. :-)

LG said...

Somehow your toilet self protrait reminded me of an exhibition i went to at the National Gallery in 1999 -Rembrandt by Himself,9 June -5 September 1999, Sainsbury Wing

Maybe i sense some similarities between the 2 artists...