So my sister came up to visit in Boston recently and we did one of what I believe will be a number of shoots. The idea was to create a mirror like depiction between the two of us and this is the closest we came:
Although this was a fun shoot and the photo is really great, it does not possess enough depth for my project... and neither do any of the other photos we took that day... That's okay though because with this experience I am closer to what I am looking for.
I spent this past weekend in New York City going to art museums, something I'm trying to do more regularly to educate myself on art/photography as well as find inspiration in other artists' works. I saw Picasso's Girl Before A Mirror at the MoMA and immediately realized that the photos of Lisa and I don't have the depth of Picasso's painting which is below:
His painting shows a friction between the two women which is what I need to find/create in my images of Lisa and I. I need to create that push/pull effect that makes us who we are. Basically, I need to put myself further out on a limb.
Diane Arbus's photo of the twins below create this distinct tension. You automatically know they are twins, but it is their expressions that really make this photo. This photo is memorable because of it's haunting nature... the expressions of these twins make us wonder what is it that makes one of them smile and the other frown? What makes them different? This the ultimate question that I as a twin hear all the time...
The photo has been said to sum up Arbus’ vision. Biographer Patricia Bosworth said, "She was involved in the question of identity. Who am I and who are you? The twin image expresses the crux of that vision: normality in freakishness and the freakishness in normality."
It's interesting to me to find the above quote because I guess in a way I'm asking the same question and I had no idea that Diane Arbus's work was questioning identity at all... I always thought of her as the photographer who finds the freaks in society and shoots them... but now it's just another artist to look into.
I've been talking to my mentor Chris about the images over email and he asked:
So, what have you and she actually experienced about this issue of being twins?
Have you ever actually spent time, spontaneously as children, trying to understand the differences?
Was there an experience of doubt, or of complete blending?
Using your imagination to create from those kinds of lived moments would be the place to start..
I responded back with:
I'm not sure what she has experienced... we never seemed to really
talk about our twinship really before. All I know is what I have
experienced and that is feeling tension, competition and doubt. I
always felt like I lived in the shadow of my sister because I never
felt good enough. It's probably why I deviated so much from her and
chose to be more of an individual because the twin thing was actually
emotionally wrecking me. Rather than have a close relationship, I felt
like my mother turned us against each other, using a kind of divide
and conquer method with us so that we couldn't keep developing our
close relationship with each other. There has always been a sense of
longing for a relationship like that for me at least... I deal with it
every day and search for a replacement for it almost... that may be
why I'm trying to reconnect with her now. I felt like we completely
became the same person for a long while, but that was because my own desires were invalidated or repressed because my mother was a single
mom trying to give us much to us as she could. So she threw us into
the same activities all the time and I felt lesser than my sister.
I've had this jealousy for the majority of my life... yet a desire to
rise above the jealousy and to have that closeness with her is
something I desire more than anything else. I have no idea how to
depict this insecurity, because really all that I just wrote describes
my side of the relationship with her. I feel like I'm having a really
hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into images...
This is the type of push/pull I am looking to further in my images... I also seem to overthink my process to much and do not let the work flow... I'm thinking too much about what is the right thing to do in my photos when there is no real right or wrong answer... just that I should be able to back up my work...
Chris responded to me with:
The right thing is most likely to be the approved or familiar thing and it may be time to let that go and venture into simply doing Kat.
As for what to do... well, as we've been writing today,
I've seen images emerging,
becoming more complex with "mother-like" forms
rising and dissolving
between two like but unlike souls
who had a time that was theirs,
in a room usually reserved for privacy,
but had that time taken away......
and now are striving for reunion
but not as a One anymore...
It's time for dreamtime and doing Kat....
It's time to let go of my inhibitions and limitations...