Last fall I was challenged to take my photography skills to a new place. MAC Art Galleries' owner Mary Ann Cohen invited selected artists to create their versions of Dali original pieces she was exhibiting at her Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter galleries. This was extra special since she had never invited a photographer to participate in this exhibit in past years. I was simultaneously honored and puzzled. How was I, primarily an outdoor and nature photographer known for my painterly approach to realism, going to "tackle" surrealism photographically.
From the available works I narrowed it down to two that spoke to me: Surrealist Flower Girl and Beatrice. At the time, I felt I had made my choices based on visualizing how I could reinterpret them through photography. Reflecting back as I write this post I realize that I was possibly also attracted to these pieces subliminally. I have a life-time of being called "a strong women" and I haven't always liked the connotations that come with it. Often wanting to be the "feminine" I was raised to be self-reliant, independent and, honestly, strong, not in the physical sense, but mentally, emotionally and consciously. Looking back, I have no regrets and, best that I know, it has served me well to handle the roller coaster rides of life.
I share these two images with you since they have been accepted into the "Wild and Crazy" Red Eye Beyond Exhibit that opens this Saturday at ArtServe. They are also available through MAC Fine Art.
I hope you enjoy the images of the Dali original (on left) and my homage (on right) to it along with my interpretation -- photographically, color palette, symbolism and verbal notes.
Special thanks go to my longtime friend, graphic artist and yoga fashion designer Sushila for helping me turn my visions into reality; painter and sculptor Colleen Rochette, who granted me permission to use photographs of some of her eggs in "Surrealist Flower Girl/I Am Women" and my hair stylist extraordinaire Jasmine, who graciously sat as my model for both pieces.
Surrealist Flower Girl
Inspired by Salvador Dali's Surrealist Flower Girl, "I Am Woman" reveals all that is within every women. I delighted in the nuance of each piece that created the whole art work – individual photographs, drips of color, colorful birds’ eggs, the scanned watercolor background, every color choice. Each individually and collectively tells the story of I Am Women. I am Mother Earth. I am spiritual. I am intuitive. I am all knowing. I am beauty. I am mystery. I am birth. I am rebirth, renewal, regeneration. I am air, sand, land, water. I am strong. I am vulnerable. I am Mind, Body and Soul. Dali’s symbolism speaks loudly so we may notice the powerful and complex being Woman.
Beatrice, Dante’s real-life muse and literary angelic guide through Paradise, symbolizes beauty and grace. There is a dichotomy about her in Dali’s art. She seems to have an exaggerated strong or is it firm profile, yet she has a soft side too as she’s embraced by what appears to be small birds along with locks of curls. I saw her as one with nature – the world and herself – a living goddess wearing her crown of roses graced by a hummingbird, who too is simultaneously strong, demur and at peace.
As I spent time with each Dali piece, merging the metaphysical and physical symbolism, envisioning my homage photographs to his master pieces, I feel I discovered a new truth, that perhaps I always knew and chose to overlook. The nature or perhaps perceived idealized nature of the feminine is really a balance of many strengths; all worthy of embracing.
Now you've seen another side of my photography. For more "conventional" portraits, click to see more strong and beautiful women and beautiful life moments.
And, next time you need a new, updated portrait (for work, social media, websites, magazine articles or gifts) or have special, intimate events you want to capture for life-time memories, I hope you'll call on me. email@example.com
l'd love to hear your feelings. Abundant Blessings!