Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photography Class: Dreams

Taking a picture of a dream started out as a challenge for me. I have a handful of reoccurring dreams or dream themes that I can remember.

My oldest reoccurring dream is one that I no longer have. Back when I had this dream, I was pretty sure it was the only dream that I had, as I never remembered any other dreams when I woke up. It is hard to describe the dream itself since the environment I was in or viewing (it's hard to decide really if I was really there or just seeing this) isn't anything that exists in reality. The best I can do is say:

I am in a sort of square, but really amorphously shaped, colorless room. The room has double walls. The inner set of walls, where my viewpoint is from, is clear. The outer set of walls are just opaque, I suppose, or black or gray or the world ends there or there is nothing to see after that point or something. Between these two "walls" are geometric shapes in muted colors sort of moving (floating?) around. Occasionally, there is a opening or hole in the transparent wall and a shape will move from one side to the other through the holes. 

That's it. That's the whole dream. The only dream I remembered having for basically years, if not two decades really.

For the past 10 years or so, I have had more dreams that I remembered, but there are two repeating themes.
  1. I am trying to get something done that requires other people to do things and I cannot get them to do them. I spend all night trying and failing to accomplish this thing while becoming increasingly frustrated with the people in my dream. I wake up all stressed and pissed. For people who know me, this just sounds like my life. What with me being a type-A anal retentive personality with unreasonable expectations. Talk about a shitty dream.
  2. I jump and instead of coming back down, I keep going up. The higher I get, the more anxious I become because I know at some point I have to come down. As far as I know, I have never come down in the dreams. So basically, I have a flying dream, something that most other people enjoy, and I spend the whole time stressed about the eventual fall to earth.
For the assignment, I initially tried to think about how I could convey the emotions from those two dreams in a picture. Given my limited shooting time (I go to work in the dark, I come home in the dark. So I can only shoot on the weekend when I also have to do the cleaning and the grocery shopping and go to my Storytelling class), they both seemed too complicated to accomplish.

Knowing that I had other dreams in the past, I did a Facebook search of my posts in my Activity Feed and hit pay dirt. Holy shit have I had, and recorded for posterity in Facebook, some weird ass dreams.

There is enough great material here that I think, over time, I will do a series. However, for this photography class, I just needed one. I decided to go with the first one, as it had a lot of potential.

I started with an Amazon search for a platypus. Since this is a photography class, I wanted to shoot everything in the image. I didn't just want to find a picture of a platypus on the internet and photoshop it. At first, I thought I would buy a realistic platypus:

Courtesy of Amazon

Until I discovered Agent P.

Courtesy of Amazon

OMG was he awesome. Just the sort of platypus that would menace me at night.

Agent P turned out to be a rare Disney character not available at either Disney store in Austin. Apparently, in his non-agent form he is Perry the Platypus and is readily available. But Agent P is harder to come by. I ordered him off Amazon and had to wait until Wednesday night when he arrived (my class is on Thursday) to shoot him.

In the meantime, I decided the whole gun, bill-grabbing thing was too much. I would just have him loom menacingly over my sleeping figure. So I stuffed some pillow under the sheets and shot the bedroom (with and without Cale for perspective and lighting purposes). After I got Agent P on Wednesday night, I shot him as well and combined the two images.


I think it turned out rather well.

This week we are shooting an event, curating a 12-piece show of our and/or others' images, and determine what camera and lens we use the most.

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