I have always had a complicated relationship with sleep. Even as a child, I usually dreaded bedtime and the nightmares I feared waited for me. I remember often building a thick fort of my numerous stuffed animals, burrowing myself in the middle of them all, gaining a small feeling of protection from their fluffy bodies.
These days, of course, there are more layers to the problem. My nightly rituals are long, complicated, highly structured affairs; multi-pronged attempts to bring on sleep including pharmaceuticals, natural remedies, special music, mental exercises, and a time schedule that must be adhered to. And with all that, there are many, many nights when I lay in bed, exhausted, but unable to sleep.
It was on one of those frustratingly sleepless nights when my wandering mind started wishing there was someone I could pay to let me sleep; just a nice, straight-forward bribe. And as I thought more about it, I wondered what kind of person it would be who would have the clout to send me into dreamland, and I decided she would probably have to be quite powerful, perhaps even the queen of dreamland… then my mind started imagining what such a queen would look like, and then I was quite awake. I launched into designing the Queen, then naturally, if she is a queen, she needs subjects, so I started imagining them… and eventually I did sleep despite all the brain activity, and when I got up the next morning, I had a huge new series on my hands.
I want to do this right, and create the characters the way I see them in my head. This is going to mean spending more time (and, dare I say it, money, little of it though I have) creating each character. More time pouring over every detail about them; making sure I get it right. And since my ME/CFS seems to have taken up permanent residence in my right (and dominant) arm, traveling up and down from my wrist to my shoulder and back again, setting up little camps of chronic pain as it goes, it’s likely going to take a while before we even get to see too many of the characters. But they will be worth it. Oh, how they will be worth it
I like my work to act a little bit as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind, and this series will do that more dramatically than anything else yet. Much influence is being taken from Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell; the kings of myth and subconscious.
Occasionally there will also be photos that simply capture the feeling of being in a dream, without necessarily introducing any new characters. The first photo for the series that I shot was one of those; concentrating on the feeling of running, being chased but unseen predators, but having home and safety within sight.
The dress you see there is indeed that long, although the fullness was added to in post. I created it for this series, and I made it with the skirt just absolutely as long and full as it possibly could be. I was rather hoping that either my dog or one of my neighbor’s dogs would end up in the photo, as they were all quite interested in what I was doing, but they managed to evade having a suitable photo taken of themselves
Now onto my first character photo, let me introduce The Corner Keeper:
She is played by the very talented, and exceptionally kind, Anna Wood, an actor you might know from Mad Men, or the movie Chronicle. Anna has the most exceptionally big and soulful blue eyes, which just draw you right in.
The Corner Keeper’s job is to hold onto memories you’re unable to face yet. She will slowly sneak them away, away from your conscious mind, dragging them into dark and dusty corners where they will lay quietly in wait, for years if need be. Any potential attention given to one of her memories will throw up a wall of dust, and once it’s settled, she and the memory are gone again, hiding in a new corner. The thing about minds is that they hold an awful lot of corners. If, however, you find yourself actually able to bear the memories again, she will gladly pass them on… not straight to you though, but into the hands of another who will help you take their weight back on. But that will be dealt with in another photo.
And lastly… I now have greeting cards and calendars for sale! Just in time for the holidays If you’ve been wanting a print but are short on cash, getting a card is a great way to own a little piece of it. The calendar features 12 of my most popular images, to add magic and myth to your home all year round