Coming by the wonders of nature in Manhattan takes some extra effort. Luckily, living on a six floor walk up, facing east, I'm often woken by the light of the sunrise pouring in to my apartment.
During the winter, when daybreak isn't quite so early that it makes me want to hide under the covers and go back to sleep, these first moments in the morning have something of a hypnotic effect on me. The colours and the places the rays reach, the shadows they make and the way they make me feel are never quite the same as the last sunny day. I find myself desperate to both absorb and capture the experience simultaneously. It's too beautiful to let it pass me by without documenting or sharing, but it's so fleeting I feel I owe it my full, undistracted, presence in the moment.
It was out of this contest of awe and discontent that 'Upon Rising' began. In the first moments of waking, throughout the month of January 2016, I took polaroids to try to seize both what I was admiring in the light that shone on usually lifeless things around my apartment and the impact of the light on me as an object myself. A study of "How do I see the sunrise through my eyes?" and "How does it look back on mine?” it became a series of self portraits and still life.
Using a Polaroid camera and Impossible Project film the shooting process became a pursuit in itself. Polaroids have always held a special kind of magic for me. I believe there is something in the organic vision of the eye which can be tampered with in a digital viewfinder. Analogue film offers an opportunity to convey your very individual impression of your world and instant polaroid in particular enhances what's transient. I had only a certain amount of time and a certain amount of chances (exposures) to get the shot. At the same time the elusive quality of my viewfinder and focus of my 600 camera doesn't allow for too much overthinking or perfectionism. Each photo taken is a risk and I found this especially intriguing with the self portraits. I would set up the frame, settling on how I saw the scene lit without me in it, using only trust in my imagination as I placed myself in, hoping I could manipulate my arm enough to avoid the appearance of a typical ‘selfie’. The process of the photos slowly developing in sync with the sun climbing, felt appropriate. The uncertainty of exactly how the colours and exposure would turn out also fitted with the volatile nature of my evolving daily plans and the weather's impact on the sun. The end result felt almost like a natural collaboration of photographer, subject, nature and the film itself.
A busy schedule travelling forced me to a put a hold on my morning polaroid routine but with a new season, new objects and ever new sunrises I am currently developing a continuation which I am very excited to share with new eyes!