For Humans, Not People
It's 3:00am and my brain is mush. I've beat it to a pulp, running ideas back and forth on how I should start today's feature (lead-ins have never been my forte in writing). Admittedly, I find myself rather doubtful of my capabilities today. Will I be able to complete every feature in the time I allotted for myself to do so? I am unsure. I am uncomfortable not knowing what the future holds--all of-- and even this small part of it. I am uncomfortable about feeling uncomfortable. Yet, here I am still, having a go at it. It's hard to accept, that the future can't be controlled-- simply lead.
At least there are the artists. They rely on me to continue what I promised to fulfill. They cheer me on. I've been thanked. It's an amazing feeling, knowing that others are happy with my work and they feel I have represented them well. So, no giving up; not today or ever. Not just for these artists that deserve recognition, but for me as well. I will follow through.
This project (feature project) can be the start of great things. A few hours a day can become the beginning of a lifetime; my life and my sons'. Instead of working a dead-end job I can create and manifest my own lifestyle. A life filled with Inspiration. Chasing Dreams. Moon Beams. Silly Things. Unnecessary Rhymes. Red String. Scenes. Meaningless Meaningfuls, and Togetherness. Sound's like gibberish, I suppose. What makes sense to me, may make little sense to anyone; the beholder's eye sees all or none.
Now take this concept beyond the scope of my words and imagine it behind the eye of a camera lens. Think, unabridged, expanded beauty: exposure, art bereaved of apologies, and then you have met the photographer who directs their camera in a way that is both subtle and evocative, controversial yet relatable; you have met Artist Baby Claypool.
In order to properly display their work, I decided to follow their website's categories, showcasing a few photos from each, starting off this feature with the Nude and Lewd:
First and foremost, I want to reiterate a thousand times over that the imagery of these photographs and the subjects within them are absolutely stunning. What beautiful and evocative yet emotive ways to display the human body (although subtle in these few instances). From their website, the artist themself vocalized, "I pride myself on offering space for those uncomfortable in their own skin, for humans that need a perspective change on themselves. I find inspiration in each form and shoot from the heart." They bring into light the beauty of the individual, the godliness of creation, acceptance, and self-love.
It has me wondering about their website domain name, branding the term, "For Humans, Not People," within its dot com. When I think of how best to undress the meaning behind the choice of words, I imagine "people" as a whole-- as society-- and how we are often viewed as numbers by the media instead of the lives behind them --or perhaps-- how even we ourselves see a face as just another in the crowd. I think with "humans" Claypool is causing us to remind ourselves that we are in fact more than what society deems us to be, and more than what each other recognize; that we are not one whole group, but are simply millions of individuals who happen to be inhabiting the same world. It's almost as if we're being called to respect each other's differences, while at the same time owning up to our similarities. "Humans" has a more empathetic feel behind its name. We all have scars, needs, wants, imperfections; Baby Claypool represents and shoots the delicacy of these things, and fulfills our desire to feel important, loved, and beautiful with their inclusive models.
That brings us to our next category; portraits.
"One photo can make or break someone(s) image of themselves. You must treat the situation with love and heart and take care of your subject. ALWAYS leave them with more than you started with."
I swear, if I've never seen such queens in my life, may Zeus strike me dead! I love the sass of the cheeseburger woman, who seems so fabulous despite what she's eating (no hate against a burger--in fact, love them!) but is not something you'd expect from a woman dressed as such: cheetah print, cat-eye sunglasses, brand names-- yet she emits absolute
In a more technical respect, the reds in the photo balance the image, while the cheetah print breaks pattern and achieves interest within the work. The pose justifies the term, "no f***'s given," as the window behind her puts her in a reachable place where others' reflections roam. The cheeseburger and drink create a juxtaposition that makes the model relatable, while her individuality is celebrated. Not just another face: this person, this being, this lovely creation --as all of Claypool's models are portrayed-- are more beautiful than beyond what they are aware.
The bejeweled queen is a photograph full of drama. The jewelry is large yet not overbearing, as the model still strikes on superior ground with her dark, tell-tale eyes. The lighting in this photograph is delicately placed, reflecting upon both the wall and the model's forehead/ eyebrow area, creating focus within her expression and embodying the drama I aforementioned. The golds in the jewelry are balanced by the blouse, while the white dot pattern upon the cheeks of the model harmonize with the white ring. Forgetting the technicalities, there is an almost innocent, yet daring look about her. I'm reminded of the Egyptian word "Sheba," meaning queen. She looks as though she is challenging you to accept all that she is, yet in her innocence, there exists the hope that you will to begin with. Perhaps she was a shy model.
I often wonder about the people behind Claypool's photographs, and I think that perhaps that's one of their intentions when executing their images. It's one thing to take a beautiful picture, but it's altogether another to leave your audience wanting more. What about your art makes it hard to turn away from? Your subject matter and its surrounding area doesn't have to be complex to accomplish the feat the result of the above question provides; take these couple images below for example:
It's in the subtleties that these photographs become more than just rotten oranges, or an animal corpse taken over by nature. A zoomed-in image, the shadows, the intricacies of mold or dirt, reflections, forest brush-- all considerations create dynamic throughout a piece despite being a simple subject matter.
Although the phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," is a tad overused, it's a saying still often said because of its timeless validity, but perhaps it can be developed upon in a way that fits today's creators; although art and beauty are subjective to individual prowess, it takes a unique perspective and a passional will to even attempt to portray the visions that an artist his/herself understands as beautiful-- or controversial, conversational-- and we as spectators are left to appreciate, debate and marvel at the wonder of creation. A few more of my favorites are displayed below:
Thank you, Baby Claypool, for allowing me the pleasure of featuring your work. If I had to describe your work in sum, I'd describe it as open, raw, emotional, awakened, fearless, and unapologetic. Your images have definitely left an impact, on me surely and-- one day perhaps-- the whole world. If you'd like to see more of Claypool's work, follow the links to either their Website or Instagram.
Model and Location Credits:
“Cheeseburger woman:” her name is Sophia. Claypool states about her, “she’s from Germany and her favorite thing to do when she comes to LA…is to go to In and Out [burger]” Her Instagram.
“Beautiful Goddess:” her name is Sasha. Her Instagram.
In Nude and Lewd:
The first image is a personal portrait of Claypool's. The woman in the B/W shot is Jasmine. The portrait was shot at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Her Instagram.
The homeless man is Anonymous, shot in LAs Korea town.
The gorgeous redhead’s name is Brandy W. She has no Instagram, but the photo was one of the final photos she got of her animal before he passed.
The woman in the red chair is Anna.
As to the locations of the oranges and decaying animal corpse: the oranges were a result of a photoshoot making fun of the “invisible orange.”
While the corpse, Claypool happened upon while mushroom hunting in Calabasas.
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