‘I had a lot of things on my mind, personal things and psychological things, that I wanted to talk about’ DUANE MICHALS

My admiration for this artist, I think it started from the work ‘fallen angel’, where he tells the story of an angel who had relations with a human woman. The angel loses his wings and awaits her awakening from, but she never wakes up and he leaves. It is not the storytelling that is just interesting to me but more importantly the topics, themes and objects he aims to represent. Duane Michals has said on many occasions that he is not interested in the appearance of thing but rather their philosophy, with this approach he aims to create pictures having the aesthetics of paintings within them.

Duane Michals works usually surround conflicting identities (his heavy use of reflections), sexuality, spirituality and death. He was very interest in the male-female form, but he had no concern with the resolution between them, only the conflict. His creative use of the exposure to create the illusion of the spiritual, or the philosophical, a reading he calls for beyond the appearance of the image.

I am using Duane Michals for a long time I also do have questions and ideas i want to visualise represent and this is why in the first instance the one still image was not enough for me, photography was not enough for me but instead, moving images, video production. For my project I am aiming to replicate the work of Duane Michals. Michals used photography in an exciting way in his time to tell stories and create sequences. For my initial project what i wanted to do was create an affective journey for the spectator by means of a gradual developing shot; in a way that as the shot developed the spectator slowly begins to understand the narrative, i planned (and still plan) to carry my spectator on a rollercoaster of emotions through this developing shot in a that as it zooms out we begin to understand the narrative. BUT I am not a photographer and this idea was informed by my videography experience. After talking to Paul i believe i have found a way to create this sequence, using Duane Michals as a reference point.


To kick off my project I have likened on of my former video pieces to that of Duane Michals, on of my favourites; This photograph is my proofthis photograph is my proof

I like this work because in a simple image, outside the leading meaning created through the title and writing, we are able to see happiness and comfort through the embrace and her posture, i.e. her head resting on his head, frozen in time. The writing just takes this to another level of satisfaction and deeper level of reading.

Before I continue, I think its noteworthy to mention why Michals writes on his pictures- ‘SEEING WORDS ON A PAGE  PLEASES ME. IT IS LIKE A TRAIL I’VE LEFT BEHIND ME, UNCERTAIN, STRANGE MARKINGS, A PROOF THAT I’VE BEEN THERE’ Michals explained that his photos could be replicated and printed but his hand writing, being his hand writing will always be signifier to his identity, one that cannot be reproduced.

So, continuing, My previous piece called ‘Precious One’ which I made for my then partner whom I loved dearly was to represent her in a way that shows her bringing life to her surroundings by placing her emotions within a beautiful background. Precious One was a tribute to her mother (whose name was Precious) for bringing a ‘gem’ into the world, a tribute to her mother as a tribute to her.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 20.48.04

(click to see video. password- tobeseen.)

What I have done here is to use the words to describe this afternoon, but tweaking it to fit my emotions and what is happening within the frame.

This being one of my submissions as a replication of the work of Duane Michals, a replication I did not aim for in the prior making of this video, but a replication that happened in the understanding of what I had done from the perspective of love from another artist, an inspiration and influence on my work.


I will be continuing t0 play around with the aesthetics of Duane Michals, what i am trying to avoid however is falling completely into the trap of pastiche, the failure of the new. I will be suing his aesthetics but telling my own stories, I aim to imprint my authority on my images through the representation of my perspective.


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