“Every time you do a project, you learn something new.” ~ Justin Timberlake
Oh, the difference a few years makes to a project…
When I started my “Aqua Femina” series, I had a clear vision in mind. I knew what I wanted to achieve and I was fairly sure how I would achieve it. With all the enthusiasm of a kitten attacking a nip-stuffed plush mousy, I virtually attacked the project doing shoot after shoot through that first summer and into the fall. Much like the bodies of water I was working in, I waded in hip deep and submersed myself in this newfound passion of mine. Some really good images were starting to come out of it too.
Unfortunately, it all got sidelined with an injury the following year.
Fortunately, I recently had a wee epiphany…
After finishing a show on HBO one night, the documentary This Changes Everything came on: described as “an investigative look and analysis of gender disparity in Hollywood”. I didn’t set out to watch it specifically but, after the first couple of minutes or so, I couldn’t not watch it. It was fascinating, eye opening, with some parts confirming what I already knew and other parts triggering an analysis of what I only thought I knew… about myself and my project.
Aqua Femina was all about a woman’s self expression in various watery mediums. Ok, cool… but why just women? I realised that I’d made a serious assumption based on my own ingrained ‘value system’. Women and water is an obvious pairing for any artist, right? It was so obvious, so very… eyerollingly obvious. Hell, it was downright cliche. Besides the fact that some of the sets had lazily strayed from emotional expression to basic model-posing-in-water sets (because THAT’s so very original), I had served up a steaming pile of gender bias with respect to concepts like openness and vulnerability.
Why hadn’t I included men, as well? I mean, we ALL form some kind of connection to water after spending those first nine months floating in liquid sleep. We all feel something around water, good or bad. Besides, we’ve been saying for years that it’s ok for men to express themselves emotionally sooooo, yep… *smack!*… facepalm moment.
As a result, this little personal project of mine has been ‘rebranded’ and redirected. It is now Aqua Humana and it will be open to any person of any gender (of legal age, of course).
I’d like to give a big thanks to Chris, aka Eli The Prophet, for stepping up as my first new inclusion to the project. It was chilly and rocky and so very early in the morning, but he hit that river like a champ. Sadly, the revelation came late in the season, so there won’t be too many more opportunities to explore things further before winter settles in but 2021 is just around the corner.
Oh, and that rock he’s on? We noticed AFTER the location was chosen that someone had etched “don’t worry” on it. Perhaps merely serendipitous, perhaps a sign… we’ll see.