A photographic debate on mimesis and anti-mimesis.
Written by Therese Niedbala
"This was my first photo project where I actually saw myself as an artist, rather than a creative person with a camera. Chelli and I came together with a concept, a still life of a flower arrangement paired with a portrait imitating the arrangement with her product. Chelli provided the flowers, the space, product, and the creative freedom for me to challenge my artistic behavior. The difference in this project among my past projects was that I was fully focused on the process rather than the final product. Each step of the process, brainstorming, planning, directing, photographing, editing, presenting, was a new challenge to me and I wanted to spend time in each, making sure I was learning something new about the creation process and how I create.
(above: Carolyn of Youth & Yarrow helping Chelli select flowers for the shoot)
(above: Chelli setting up a floral arrangement)
(above: Sketches of initial model set-up ideas by Therese)
(above: Coffee meeting to sort through photos to begin forming diptychs)
"The concept evolved and grew through each step. It began with an idea to celebrate spring themes and do something a little different, and by the end it took on new meanings it picked up during post-editing. Each step was so fun because I played so much with the possibilities of each stage, and Chelli kept me focused and challenged by adding her ideas and visions."
(above: moments behind the scenes of the floral shoot)
"We shot the flower arrangements prior to the portraits, with the intention to arrange the models similar to the flowers. Only three of the portraits that were intentionally directed to recreate a flower arrangement ended up becoming a final diptych. The other four paired themselves during post, when during the shoot we had no intention certain portraits would relate more to the arrangements than the purposefully posed images."
(above: behind the scenes of the model shoot)
"Over the weeks I edited, a quote bounced around in my mind, “Life imitates art more often than art imitates life.” I couldn’t remember that it was Wilde who said this, so after some research I came upon the debate between Aristotle’s mimesis and Wilde’s anti-mimesis philosophies. I felt like the idea of art and life imitating each other strongly related to our concept. Reflecting more, I wondered if I expressed myself and what I am learning about the world through the imagery and process, or if the imagery and process gave me lessons to take back into my daily life. Hence: A photographic debate on mimesis and anti-mimesis."
See the full Lookbook here
Words by Chelli:
Photographed & Edited: @thereseniedbala
Special Thanks: @youthandyarrow
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For the sake of rest, travel and learning, I've decided to hit pause and close shop from September through December.
You can read more here.
This summer marked the send off of my apprentice of 3 years, Lucy. What a pleasure it's been to have worked alongside her; learning as much as teaching.
My time with her has taught me a new appreciation for even the tiniest of details, that the right question can open up new realms in creating and to not be limited by others perception of you, age or otherwise.