Day 6 | Magnified Light

At the moment I’m composing this post while being stuffed in a train, limbs awkwardly pressing against my fellow stranger’s. I’m trying my best to gracefully accept this packed, crowded stereotype that Tokyo is well known for.

In review of my day, I feel a bit disappointed that I didn’t try harder to observe my surroundings and find more beautiful things. Granted I didn’t have much time to just sit and relax, but I definitely could have put out more effort.

I do feel better knowing that I’m going to be here a week, instead of my regular go in and go out on the same day trips, which is because I love Home too much to stay away from it for too long. I am flowing at a better pace, and don’t feel so overwhelmed or constricted by time. But at the same time, it is still Tokyo. I have this odd sense of being in a different country when I’m here, and makes me feel very far from home.

But my sister is here. I don’t get to see Betsie so much because she works long hours at night, but it is indeed very pleasant being back with her. Tonight we went to a restaurant, and I had her hold a magnifying glass that was hanging from the ceiling in front of an old-fashioned light. It revived an old idea that I had for a piece. So perhaps this singular moment of interest in this hanging object will burrow it’s way to a future image. We shall see.

Always,

Reylia

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Day 4 | Before My Bus

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Before my boyfriend Alex went to work this morning, I asked him to help me test out some lights that I’m borrowing from a friend. It was quick, and it was simple. He was even watching anime while we were shooting, with the computer screen strategically positioned behind me.

I’m going to be heading off to Tokyo from tonight. I have three large pieces of luggage, and being accompanied by this interminable rain. According to the forecast, it seems that I can expect the rain to be my constant companion for the duration of my trip. I can only hope that it won’t.

Always,

Reylia

Day Two. The last gift summer gave

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From this project, one thing I hope to learn would be new color pairings that attract me, and use them for inspiration and reference in future photoshoots. It happens on occasion that I see certain colors that intensely grab my attention; they look like what poetry would, if poetry was a color. For several moments I admire it and muse that it would be nice to use it for a new piece. But I rarely document them, and it goes unthought of and forgotten.

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But today, as I walked down my street, small purple flowers floated above my head, and quietly landed on the cemented road below; a gentle proclamation of the forthcoming winter. Before I came across this subtle scene, I had been quite upset, and was very raw with emotion. But as this slow dance of the relinquished season was demonstrating itself on the road, just by watching the natural array I instantly felt separated from my sadness, and was able to just look and enjoy the simple beauty that was there to publicly enjoy. One of the last gifts summer gave.

Always,

Reylia


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One Year of Pictures. Day 1

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Image ©Reylia Slaby 2017

It surprised me about how fearful I was about this project. The idea of just taking one photo a day, an instant of my life, and then posting it. There was a sharp resistance that flooded through me, and within minutes I recognized it as the fear of the imperfect.

Somehow I had built it up in my head that everything I shared online had to be a spectacular, fully formed, and completely thought-out piece. And to keep my “reputation” as a photographer, nothing had to be anything less. I couldn’t strive for anything but my ultimate best each time.

This way of thinking came slowly over the course of my life as a photographer, sharing piece by piece, and rarely disclosing the numerous images that failed. The concepts that I hadn’t been able to do justice.

I had been wanting to do a 365 day series for a while, but each time my thoughts played with the idea, I had dismissed it because of my obsession with perfection, and creating an image with multiple layers of meaning. On top of it, I was also a bit skeptical about the idea of a “series”. This distrust stemmed from a phone call I had with a gallery owner in California several years ago. We were talking about my work, and he commented on how the flow of my pieces wasn’t consistent, that it didn’t feel complete as a series. And to be honest, while I eventually compiled my pieces under a single series title, none of them had been intended to be constricted into one series, but to stand on their own two feet. Because I was younger, and quite green in the Fine Art world (I still am), I felt instantly inferior because I couldn’t create a streak of homogeneous images. I had attempted to make a series several times during the course of the year, only to come to the conclusion that me in my present state didn’t make art in that way. I couldn’t create in accordance to what fit the mold of what a gallery wanted.

So eventually I associated the idea of a series as something constricting, a confine that prevented me from creating work in the way that was in harmony to my spirit and style.

But then, something changed.

It started by me feeling bound by the precision I felt my own work needed to have. Creating become a chore, instead of something I desired to do. I felt that the way I wanted to make my pictures was unattainable, and therefore eventually didn’t create as much. I had in essence trapped myself within a cage of who I felt I needed to be. I didn’t know how to enjoy myself within what I was creating, was terrified of failing, wasting resources and people’s time. Failure was my antagonist.

Eventually, after separating myself a bit from Fine Art, I’ve come to have fun with fashion and beauty photography. It’s something I enjoy, and am learning to incorporate more of myself into it. It does take a very long time to learn what is you, and what isn’t. Because I have found this new outlet, I have come to peace with my inconsistency with Fine Art, and for some reason, feel more inspired than ever to create pieces. It’s an enigma, a colorful and confounding puzzle. It feels wonderful.

And so, somehow today I decided it would be the day that I collected pieces from my everyday life. And to be ok with people perhaps seeing them as less than artistic, tacky, and maybe even unprofessional. All I know is that finally today, I am more excited about the future and of life than I have been in the past several months. It brings tears to my eyes, and I feel joy because I am finally taking steps to my convalescence. I know that this type of illness will always come and go, but the healing does indeed feel miraculous.

So for my first image, behold, flowers. Not exactly normal flowers, like roses or a lily, but something a bit weird, and a little imperfect. Just like me. And maybe just like you too.

Always,

Reylia

Recent Studio Shoot, Recent Thoughts

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Recently, I’ve been working with a team to create photography pieces in-studio. It is all-in-all a wonderful experience, though it can be conflicting. In the past, I had predominantly done Fine Art Photography, and lately it has been harder and harder to create within that realm. Almost as if I’m not quite ready for what that next step is. I am still preparing myself for what direction I want to go to. But I do know that I am starting to adore the sphere of fashion and beauty, and I am learning. Painfully so. I’ve spend so many hours staring at thousands of images in admiration, imagining the process of how it was completed, but only to have it like a skeleton in my brain, incomplete. I’ve been overwhelming myself with going over the processes, the possibilities. This dream, I’ve come to realize, has the capacity to destroy me. But when it doesn’t, I adore it. Creation is complex in that way, and in some respects contains elements of Stockholm syndrome. It takes you captive, gives you pain, but you stay. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes feel locked in, and unable to move.

In some ways, it’s a wonderful thing, to love something so much, that even when it hurts you, you choose not to leave. I’d like to think that that’s how you know when it’s real.

But admittedly I am fearful. I’m afraid of showing exactly how this field of mine controls me emotionally, and how it makes me feel. Its gut-retching to see everyone try to present themselves so confidently, whereas I quiver, so prone to honesty. When all I wanted was to just make beautiful things, and to not have to feel like I had to succeed online, have a stance, have a following. Popular on this social media, that social media, until it chokes you. It’s just so saturated that it’s painful.

But I hope that one day it can all come together and be beautiful. That even with all this excess, we can merge together and make sense of this all together. Can you imagine what a murmuration looks like? An enormous, overwhelmingly breathtaking flock of starling birds flying together in unison. Once you see it from afar, it makes sense and it’s awe inspiring. I hope that that’s what we look like as well, once you step away far enough. A flock of creatives, doing what they can, flying and soaring. Doing what they naturally do, with the by-product being beauty.

Always,

Reylia

© Reylia Slaby
Fine Art Photography
WEBSITE http://www.reyliaslaby.com
INSTAGRAM: @reylia.slaby

Shell Within Shell.

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I AM PAPER SERIES ©Reylia Slaby 2016

 

 

Today I was again caught in a whirlwind. A cruel, blustery tempest. These past few days have been full of me chasing after myself, but then running away from it as well. I fidget all day, carrying this anxious feeling within my chest, that threatens to choke me. It seems to say: When is it good enough? “It” being the art I produce, or rather, myself. I spend so much time fixated on it’s perfection in my mind, rather than production of the physical art itself. I am aware of this in myself, and it leaves me in even more suffering and guilt, stuck within a vicious circle. I tell myself that perhaps this is growth, but I find myself trapped within shell within shell, like a matryoshka doll.

Even as I type, I am fearful. Will even this be good enough? Where have I developed this abnormal fear of imperfection from? Perhaps it was something that naturally permeated and stained my being after being birthed and bred in the Japanese culture? A slow trickle of poison. Undetectable in small doses. Could that be the culprit?

Because when I was younger, I remember not fearing anything. I remember what it felt to be inspired by a piece of work rather than intimidated of or jealous of it.

Can I reclaim that sense of self? Hopefully I can find it again this year.

Always,

r.

http://www.reyliaslaby.com