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Quick Update

Hello all!

It’s been awhile since my last update, but I’m stopping by on here to let everyone know that I’m moving sites!

Yup! I’ve now got my own website over at melissafergusonphotography.com!

I won’t be shutting down over here, but posting will be infrequent as I will be hosting most of my blog posts over on the new site!

Thanks for your continued support.

Melissa

Portraits of A Girl

Something strange led me to browse through the depths of 2010’s attempt at a 365 tonight. I came across an array of photographs I had taken of myself, portraying various “characters.” I never attempted to photograph myself as who I was at the time, but as characters in a story. But, unknown to me at the time, a few “portraits” of myself slipped in with the stories.

These photographs are in a way vulnerable, exposed. None of the girls in them are the same, yet they are all the same. It is the growth and change of a girl through the course of time.

They are portraits of a girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to spend more time with this body of work. There are many more photos I have already taken, as well as a renewed desire to begin photographing myself daily.

I had it in the plans today to bring my camera with me to document myself as I finish the bulk of my remaining work for Click, my BFA thesis show. However, carrying my humongous purse filed with notebooks, my laptop, all my chargers, and then trying to carry a dying potted plant and a contact print frame with me to the lab without dropping anything seemed a large enough challenge to bear today.

I was also hoping to have received my copy of The Autobiography of Red in the post today, but I suppose it has yet to come as a sign for me to finish things of greater importance, such as my updated resume, as well as the non-art version of it. Yes, the time has come for me to seek out a temporary job for the time being, until I can sort out the mess which is my graduation and hunt for a career.

So while I wait for 135 cyanotypes to expose right now, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to the past few months.

“Confluence of The Uncanny and Mundane”

Back at the end of January, I was a feautured artist in a show juried by Andrea Modica. Honestly, I didn’t understand the show, and was less than impressed by it. I was one of a few alternative process artists with work featured, but the handling of our pieces in the gallery left more to be desired.

“I Can’t Keep You Alive”

This is my current body of work, a sort of homage to fear and death, and a strange way of telling my dad I love him. Everyone seems to have this fear of death, but mine is a little more. I’m afraid to grow old and lose everything that gives meaning to my life: my memories, my ability to do activities I enjoy, forgetting those I care about. I also have this recurring nightmare of my dad dying in which I wake up bawling my eyes out, terrified that it’s not a dream.

“I Can’t Keep You Alive” is a three part installation consisting of 768 cyanotypes (2″x2″) made each of a flower I have plucked in the prime of it’s life, in an effort to try and preserve it in my images. However, my images fail at preserving life, they only create a likeness, and I am left with rotten plant pulp. In another attempt to save this life, I mix the bodies of these 768 flowers in a solution which I use to coat paper and expose an anthotype of my father’s image from his youth, but due to the nature of the anthotype, the image fades away unless it is kept in complete darkness, hidden away.

It’s a body of work I am incredibly proud of, and I believe it will continue on for awhile. I don’t see myself stopping here.

Twelve Light Chasers

My sister and I have opened up an Etsy shop, which we run together, as well as a blog which I run by myself. 12 Light Chasers is an experiment in sharing my love of vintage style and art with the internet. Our shop features unique vintage thrift finds as well as handmade jewelry and art by the two of us. It’s kind of a new, fun, exciting thing for me and I really hope you all check it out too!

Apartment Hunting and the Attempted Move

About a month ago, I was supposed to move into a new apartment with my friend, Harleigh. Due to some financial troubles on both ends, we had to push back our move date, which has caused issues with finding a home for Stormtrooper, our little Siamese Tabby kitten. I’m currently living at home with my parents who are both allergic to Stormy, and have had to keep him licing with my friend for quite some time now. When her lease ended last month, we had no home to put him in and frantically had to beg people to house him for another month. Luckily we found someone willing to take him, but we couldn’t find a home for our baby girl, Valentine, and had to give her away. Luckily she’s got a new forever home and a family that adores her.

I woke up shivering, my body convulsing, tears streaming down my face. I wanted to scream out for him, to mourn him. I wanted to throw myself at the ground, as did the Ancient Greeks, pounding my fists into the Earth and wailing laments for my loss, my family’s loss, the world’s loss.

I guess I never got over telling myself I would die before I was 30, or rather hoping I would. I never really understood it: the wish to die young. At least, I never understood it until now.

Seven hundred sixty eight. The number of paper squares I cut, one by one. The number of flowers I plucked, stealing life while they were at their prime.

There is something beautiful about flowers, blooming from the simplest of forms: a few roots, stems and leaves. But there is also something tragic, the horror of death as slowly the blossoms shrink, shrivel and succumb to fate. I tried to stop those little tragedies, all seven hundred sixty eight of them, preserving their beauty on a little square, but I’ve left myself with their impression, and the remains of something once so beautiful, in a bloody pulp.

I’ve watched those close to me blossom, then wither away. I’ve watched someone lose all of her memories, as she tried desperately to cling on to my arm, begging to remember my name. I’ve watched someone become so helpless as to lose all control of his body. I fear growing old. I fear that I’ll lose all memories of those I love, of my whole life. I’m afraid to lose the things I love. I’m afraid to lose all sense that gives meaning to existing. I’m afraid to wither away.

It wasn’t the first nightmare I had, and I know deep down it won’t be the last. As reality sunk in, I recognized my bed, my desk, the lamp. I wiped away the tears, convincing myself that my father was still alive and well, but in the back of my head, preparing myself for the inevitable, repeating into the night, “I can’t keep you alive.”

Distortions

I recently began a new body of photographic work, experimenting with ideas about how we access memories. I was inspired by talks I had had with Joshua White and his work which revolved around memories and how as we try to access them more, they become less and less factual and more fictitious.

So I began this new work with a pinhole Polaroid camera, photographing long conversations in my life. The images turned out too dark when shot inside and eventually I switched to photographing quick 30 second portraits.

I then took the blurred images and lifted the emulsion from the film backing. The now transparent image is then scanned onto a flatbed scanner while still wet and crumpled, and enlarged digitally, then printed.

The final images look like this:

©2012 Melissa Ferguson
©2012 Melissa Ferguson
©2012 Melissa Ferguson

More to come as this project goes into full effect!

Disclaimer: This post was originally created for 12 Light Chasers

It’s been a crazy month or so since I last blogged here, and my apologies for making it such a long wait. After classes wrapped up mid December, I went into crazy hectic holiday mode. I’m not one to get super serious when it comes to celebrating holidays, but those few weeks between classes is my one chance to get a LOT of extra hours at work, which is where I mostly disappeared to, hiding in the backroom of a retail store, pulling HUNDREDS of items every hour to restock empty shelves – an artist’s dream come true. Ha!

In the few hours between shifts and sleeping, I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friends, knowing fully that the next few months I’d be too busy to make time for them, and when I wasn’t out, I was at home preparing to move. I’ve been living in my parent’s house all thorughout getting my degree and while the money saved is GREAT, I’m about 20 miles away from school, 10 from work, and just far from life, which is a huge hassle trying to find time to commute. So within the next few weeks, I’ll be finishing packing up my life and moving in to a new apartment in Tempe.

What else is new is my BFA THESIS SHOW. AHHHHHHH! More to come on the show itself as well as updates on the work I’ll be making for the show. Right now I’ve got no images to work with, but I CAN say I’ll being showing a series of “conversations” depicted in emulsion lifts of long exposure polaroid film, which will then be scanned and printed at 16×20 inches. At least that’s the goal. So far, my experiments have been unsuccessful. My pinhole fuji camera is NOT making images, so I’ve got to figure this one out, and FAST.

But I will say, the show will be up March 5-9, 2012, opening reception on the 6th from 6-8pm in Gallery 100 in Tempe. So if you’ll be near the area, be sure to stop by and see some awesome sauce work.

I grew up as a musician, so music has always been a big part of my life. I still play music but not as often as I used to. Instead, music has found a role in my art making.

As finals approach, I find myself turning to music to get some sort of inspiration flowing theough my veins, and this song has been the one to do. It’s great when you can find that one song which reverberates through your whole being, putting you in that trance where 7 hours feels like 5 minutes and you leave the studio feeling accomplished for the first time in months.

I’ve been in a dry spell with my work lately, and honestly just came up with what my final project would be for class, less than a week before it’s due.

So I’m off to the lab, with this album in hand, to go attempt to make some work again.