We all have a creative medium that we speak through. Renata Davis is lucky enough to have more than a few mediums. She creates animation videos, cartoons, drawings, prose, and mixed media pieces.
When I first talked to Renata about her work, I think what most impressed me was the way she works. Renata keeps a free flow word document open on her computer at all times – it is here that she writes downs ideas, beginnings of letters, poems, dreams; the stuff of her life. She then uses this to help guide her work. I wanted to create an image with Renata after listening to her poem, A Letter I Will Never Send. It’s honest and hard and beautiful.
The image I designed was based on the idea of Renata letting her art flow. One of the most difficult things as an artist is to create, and then decide to share it and (possibly) let it be torn apart. In this shoot I printed about 30 pages, double sided, of her free write document and made a contraption that let them hang from her. Renata plays the part of the artist – letting the words flow and letting go of the fear, and I play the role of that part of us that doubts our art.
Below are a few images in which I am testing the composition and finding the right moment, and mostly having fun with Renata.
Once I felt we had the right light and scene, we were able to create the following images.
This last image is the one I’ll be adding to my photo series, “Anisocoria.”
I also wanted to add this quote I came across, which I think perfectly explains the personal nature of writing letters.
“Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope, your scent graces the paper. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox; their world. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern and impersonal forms of communication will never replace.”
Some people write letters, I create photographs.