Metropolitan Museum. European Sculpture Garden. Pen and paper. It’s deja vu all over again. I don’t know what it is about this place that makes it so easy to write though I must say the surroundings are more inspiring than Costco’s cafeteria (my other favorite writing spot). If only I could get a hot dog.
I just walked through the Matisse exhibition and several modern art galleries. As I expected, Matisse was too crowded to really enjoy the paintings. I did see enough to gain a bit of inspiration and I can always come back here again. I had hoped there would be some discussion about Matisse’s muses at the exhibition. Last year a New York gallery did an entire show on the subject. At the Met there was virtually nothing. A few models were mentioned but so little about his connection to them. But it was enough for me and my mind wandered into thoughts about what I look for in my own muses. How much is physical? How important are the model’s facial expressions? Where does her personality fit in? Are they all the same thing?
Right now I don’t know. I can say for sure what doesn’t work. Sometimes a model who I desperately want to be a muse fails to inspire me. It’s not her fault. I do a shoot or two and we get amazing pictures but for some reason, usually due to a very small conflict between our personalities, a bond doesn’t form. It’s not worth shooting again because the pictures won’t get better. Right now I need more than that. During a shoot I don’t want to think about anything except the images. When a shoot feels timeless, like a dream, I know the model is giving me everything she can. It’s a wonderful feeling. From what I can tell my muses feel the same way.
The Matisse exhibition did inspire me. While walking through I wanted to run home and start taking pictures. If only someone was waiting for me in my apartment I would have left in a second. Instead I’m sitting on a bench with a view of Cleopatra’s Needle, exploring my own thoughts, trying to figure out exactly what I’m looking for in my next muse. She’s likely someone I haven’t met yet. I need her right now! I believe I am on the cusp of a new period of prolific photographic production (whew!) And I want to begin the work now.
So in my mind I’m imagining images of women I’ve already photographed, and of those I’ve explored online but haven’t yet worked with. For once in my life I’m divided and don’t know where to begin. I’ve already taken baby steps in both directions, searching the muses I’m already familiar with but also looking for someone new. Ha! Now that I think about it maybe I should photograph both women together…the old and the new. I know one thing for sure. That shoot would either be an amazing experience or a photographic disaster.
Writing is an inspiration on to itself and I now know where to begin. Hopefully that will be the story for my next essay.
(As a footnote, at 3:15am while typing this essay into the computer, I’m messaging on Facebook with a woman who I hope will become my next muse. We’ve never met. While we talk, at my request she’s taken a few pictures of herself and sent them to me so I can get a better idea of her personality and what she looks like. I’m not sure she understands how much better our first shoot will be because of this. It is kind of strange…in a good way. It’s as if a daydream and reality somehow are coming together as one.)