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Letting Go! (part 2)



In Letting Go! part 1, I wrote about the first half of the project that has absorbed me since the New Year. It was 6-week workshop, led by the amazing Laura Hynd, in which I explored my creativity by letting go of many of my preconceptions and ways of photographing to open up new pathways.


The project focussed on decluttering or 'döstädning'. Having excavated the wardrobe, wallowed in the memories evoked by the various dresses, the next stage would be the 'throwing out'. I did ponder on hurling the clothes out of the window and photographing them scattered all over the garden, but the rain returned and I was deterred by all the mud that might result! So instead, thinking again about installations, I set up a 'journey' for the clothes, from the bedroom to the landing, imagining a river of jumbled fabrics and colours.




However the resulting images felt too predictable and static, so I went back to my list of 'shedding' words and thought of images that would tell the story: casting off, ejecting, banishing, expunging, rejecting, evacuating. All strong words, full of movement and emotion. I bravely put myself into the frame, buried myself under a pile of the clothes and threw them off!



Now I was getting the movement and the emotion! I then threw lots of the clothes down the stairs:



I liked the effect, but it was really hard to get the shape and focus. Throwing with one hand and pressing the shutter at the right time was too much of a challenge! How to solve that? Well, another letting go for me - I let my partner have the camera! Suddenly, no control, and I was back in the frame without being able to select how much of me was visible. And the discomfort of being photographed returned.



So, we changed places. He threw the clothes and I took the photos! I realised the benefits of collaborating as he came up with new ideas and solutions as we experimented to get the effect that I wanted:



with this as my favourite:



Suddenly the dress takes on its own persona, floating down the stairs on the way to a party! I had let go of the importance of technical aspects such as correct exposure, focus etc, and found joy in an image that speaks to me because it captures what I wanted to convey.


One of the benefits of joining a group workshop is that you get suggestions for developing your project. One of the group wondered about the accessories that go with the dresses so I rummaged through the boxes of jewellery that I have collected over the years. And suddenly was overwhelmed again with the memories of the occasions, but also the amount that had accumulated, unnoticed, and now no longer needed. I wrapped myself up, felt the weight of the necklaces and bracelets,




Thinking about the 'letting go' theme, I experimented with adding a 'clashing' colour, a pop of red, to add some tension and contrast. This led to lots of playing around with different combinations:



Overall, this project has opened my eyes and my mind to lots of new understandings. I am persuaded more than ever that: "Clutter is more than a mess. It's a daily loss of time, space, peace and life" Joshua Becker. I am also now going to take this 'letting go' philosophy and mindset forward with me in my photographic journey and for that heartfelt thanks to Laura Hynd, and the other members of the group.


All I have to do now is physically let go of the dresses, give them away amd not hold on to them just in case I need them for my photography!


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