Melissa Mercier: Perfectly Private – 1
I have always made it a point to protect my private life. Part of my upbringing instilled a strong sense of keeping certain things private and carefully choosing what to make public. This has become an interesting paradox as I’ve grown to become very active online via my facebook, twitter, pinterest and blog. It seems my very personal experience of expressing myself through photographs has lead me to an opposite reality in finding an audience for my work. I imagine artists throughout history have had to deal with this, but the experience has become more universal now that we are all publicly displaying our lives online. Everyday we head to our favourite social networks and decide how the world will see us. It’s become as personal as getting dressed. From torn jeans to the latest Oscar de la Renta gown, we consciously decide how to decorate ourselves for the world. We are walking filters, editing, censoring and ultimately serving our selves. But what effect does this have on us as homo sapiens of flesh blood in the real world? Are we bringing our edited selves to the coffee shop, or are we bringing our real selves to Facebook? Are we human beings or are we human tweetings? The lines are becoming blurred and I find it fascinating. Imagine what reality would be like if we all had a personal editor at our sides that carefully curated our conversations before they took place. Bar stool chats would sound more like world leader speeches. Are we getting to know each other better? Is the person we’re getting to know really letting us in? Have we ever really known each other at all? I begin this inquiry with myself. I want you to know the real Melissa Mercier a little better.
By my own rule, I don’t usually mention my family, friends, or many of my private thoughts online. However, when Manfrotto offered me, for the second time, to publish a weekly column on their popular School of Xcellence, I decided it would be an opportunity to let my guard down a little, although I am a perfectionist, so admittedly I will only allow you into the moments that are perfectly private.
Although you won’t see me sharing extremely personal moments any time soon, I will show you a lot more of what’s going on in my life as an artist. The gallery openings I attend, the daily work load in my studio, my travels, my hotel rooms. I will also take you on a journey of what influences me as an artist. Fashion, architecture, interior decoration and food presentation are all very fascinating to me and have always stimulated my work. Textures and colours often become obsessions that find their way into my work and I will keep you in the loop. You’ll see a lot more of “how I get there” and how I find my inspiration through the details of my daily life. Manfrotto has been kind enough to send me an abundance of lighting equipment, so it’s only fitting that using light will be a theme in this public experiment of self illumination.
So here’s the first one…
Because I have some really amazing equipment, my friends often ask me to help them out with specific projects and I love to be involved with their creative work. Recently, artist James Nizam needed a high resolution photograph of the map that he created his latest body of work around to be included in his book “Tumulus“. So I brought my medium format camera to his place and we photographed the map that you see below.
He recently gave me a copy of the book and I decided to take some closeup pictures of it to show the amazing texture and details. With each image, I also included a quick snapshot of how it was executed. Below you will also find out about the equipment I used and more about the book.
- Hasselblad 500 C/M
- Phase One digital back
- 120 mm lens
- GT5531S tripod
- 2 ML360HP
- 2 386B nano clamps
Each image in the series was taken on a small island in Canada. It belongs to the indigenous people of the Katzie. 40 years ago, they have leased the island to an entrepreneur, who made plans for a holiday paradise. Huts were built, a restaurant opened, but it was not successful. The cultivated plots were then rented individually. Families spent their weekends and their holidays here, some users wanted to stay for retirement and upgraded their homes. Then the period of lease ended and the Katzie were not willing to extend it. Some houses were burned down by their owners, others were just left behind, many were torn down.
Years later, James Nizam and Roger Eberhard photographed, what is left of the ruins.
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