The inspiration for my fine art photographs comes from a myriad of sources. Women have long been excluded from society’s narrative (for anyone who hasn’t read Perez’s Invisible Women I urge you to do so), therefore on the rare occasions women feature prominantly in a story, myth or legend it is worthy of celebration.
Last summer I came up with the idea to create my own take on the ‘Lady of the Lake’, a character from the legend of King Arthur. As women often are, she has been depicted in many ways throughout history from murderous captor to nurturing Mother, alluring sex Goddess to benevolent giver of the sword Excaliber, so I wanted my photograph to be benign so that the viewer could make up their own mind as to her character.
Having imagined the final picture I set about creating the scene, which involved clamping my camera to an overhead pole while I floated fully clothed in the tiny tub in my bathroom at home, then once I’d dried off I set about compositing m’Lady into a background image I’d taken of a river bed while out on a walk with my dog. It should have been a fairly straight forward process, but no matter what I did the image simply refused to take shape. After several days of frustrating editing I gave up, and like dozens of other failed pictures it ended up abandoned on my laptop where it stayed for the next 12 months.
This week, for reasons unknown, the Lady of the Lake photograph popped into my head and I decided to brush off the cobwebs and give it another bash. This time the process was effortless and within a couple of hours the bones of the image had taken shape, despite the fact I have no more skills this summer than I did last.
It’s not the first time this has happened. My initial attempts at creating my now award winning image ‘On the Shelf’ were a disaster and the photo sat gathering dust on my laptop for nearly 2 years. I then had a sudden urge to have another go at making it work and the picture came together without a hitch. It’s almost as if the timing must be right in order to put the image out there in the world.
So to anyone struggling with a creative process that isn’t going to plan, my advice would be to simply leave it. Take a breath. Your intuition will guide you to the right time for the project to be born and it will be worth the wait.