Day 1 | Let’s start over

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Image © Reylia Slaby. Image may not be used or revised without permission.

Let’s call this begin again December. There was a bump where I lost focus, and decided not to get on the train again. But I’ll get back on now. This time lets go.

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Day 24 | Skin

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Image Copyright © Reylia Slaby

Today has been a bit more unusual for me. I have been out and about in Osaka, taking care of errands, meeting with a make-up artist I often work with, and also gathering a few things for shoots. While the things I have done are brimming with banality, what changed the pace of it was just that: My pace. I’ve had a bit of a running injury, in that I’d worked the muscles of my calves so fiercely that now I am unable to walk, but instead now am forced to shuffle. My annoyance was that I was unaware of how badly I had pushed my legs. I had only gone running for an hour, and was at my usual pace and route, so it was surprising to me how badly my legs hurt the following day, and even worse today. Alex thought that I might have been exaggerating my walk, but I am sincerely immobile. A walk that once was ten minutes is now thirty.

While I hope that tomorrow is better, I must say that part of me has found this outing to town in this state almost refreshing. There wasn’t for a moment that I had a chance to rush along with the crowd, but instead had to carefully navigate my feet up stairs and through the twists and turns of city roads. I had time to read posters, and to look at people. I felt myself think, instead of having my thoughts brushed away with the breeze of my pace. I never thought that something like this could be pleasant, but in all if it’s irony, it is. Maybe the secret to happiness is slowing down after all, allowing enough time to feel and absorb all that is happening around you.

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


http://www.reyliaslaby.com

http://instagram.com/reylia.slaby

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

The Red Era

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Some time ago, about two years now, I was at a festival. This particular one I had looked forward to every year. It was here that I had discovered a part of myself that wasn’t scared or anxious. It was during this one day, my brain allowed myself to transform.

It wasn’t until the evening, that a man came up to me. He told me he was a friend of my mother’s. He was friendly, but looked at me intently. We chatted casually about the day, him a drink in hand, and me sober. A state to remember everything. “Oh Reylia.” he said, suddenly changing the topic. He cupped my face in his hand, and then briskly stroked my cheek. “You could be so beautiful…if your skin wasn’t like this.”

Pain and shock erupted in my gut, but left me speechless. Because of this man, the skin trouble I had been dealing with for years might have finally broken me. Every morning, the first thing I would do was to look in the mirror and to see if it was gone. Every night, I would check the mirror again to see if it leveled out through the day. It rarely did, if not get worse with the sun, air, and sweat. Despite all the things I used to try to heal it. And here at the festival where I felt the most confident, I had in front of me all my demons, all my insecurities, in the form of just one man.

In my daily life, once I stepped out of the house, I tried to never mind my skin too much, and to remind myself that there were worse things to worry about than how I looked. In that way, I was confident, and concerned myself with matters that involved my art or my education. Unfortunately makeup had the tendency to hurt my skin more, so it was always me naturally, bare skin to all.

After the words had come out of the man’s mouth and his hand had fallen back to his side, I realized that all my friends were walking ahead back to the station, so I had no time to react properly. I rushed to my group, and was quiet for a while, processing how his comment, his physical gesture, made me feel. I touched my skin gently as the train swayed back and forth, the texture rough to the tips of my fingers.

It was then I realized how much I didn’t care. But that I did want to turn it around and make something through this time of mine. The Red Era. Maybe that’s what it’ll be called. Whatever this time of mine is, I won’t let anyone take away my joy at just living, breathing, and being alive. Here, now, and in my skin.

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

My desire of perfection.

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I’ve been overthinking lately. Unfortunately my mind has, in a way, been devouring itself. Starting one thing, stopping it, then starting anew at something else. Why must I let myself spiral into this? Part of me is thinking that perhaps in a way my stress and sadness fuels my joy in some way. That this discomfort is my body and mind’s way of communicating to me that there is something else out there. That I have yet to break out of my shell, my mold, this skin that I have to deal with…

I shake with fear of this. Thinking about having to extend, bend and expand myself leaves me with a nauseous feeling. It is me being a coward. Because while I don’t fear growth, I fear mistakes. And I know my desire of perfection will be my main hinderance. I make an attempt to shout to the universe, to tell me what is best, only to realize that I stand alone in a dark, wet cave, and the only sounds I hear are the echoes of my own voices against it’s rocky walls. Yes, voices; I have more than one.

I beg myself to just continue, to not get distracted by feelings that will be long-gone by next week. To just continue.

Always,

r.


the title is “Un”.

model:hikaru