Monday, September 19, 2011
Feathers & Flesh: The Photography of Patrick R.
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? ~Rose F. Kennedy
2 shots above: Self portraits by artist Patrick R
I remember as a kid often having to walk over dead animals of one kind or another as I entered and exited my house. Our cat brought home her prey for us to admire. I love all animals but eventually felt nothing but annoyance by the daily array of prizes, usually mice, moles and chipmunks. When it was a bird however, no matter how often, there remained a tinge of sadness.
There is a beauty and magic with birds which sets them apart from other wildlife. Both delicate and strong, graceful and vulnerable. The ability to fly is something we humans have never mastered quite as elegantly. With flight comes freedom which is why a caged bird is pretty much a dead bird.
Patrick's passion has always been tied to feathers and flight. Patrick says that his relationship with birds was formed as a young boy and is indelibly dyed into the fabric of who he has become. Birds, feathers, wings and Angels have always been passions of Patrick's and now have become sources of inspiration for his work as a photographer. When Patrick sent me shots for this piece, the shot above was initially one of my least favorites. After spending more time with his images, it has become one of my favorites. An incredible blending of the human form and the feathered variety, and, of Patrick's passions.
'The “Feathered Cod-piece” was sort of an experiment to see if I could make it look as if feathers were growing out of human skin – another idea I haven’t explored fully – and do so without having it look silly or tacky. Initially, like you, I wasn’t overly fond of it but when I switched it to B&W it suddenly worked.'
In his work with non feathered subjects, Patrick likes the painted, period-look with the beauty of the male form mixed with a little mystery.
'One of my favorites is the male form lying on his back on the red fabric . . . I was very purposeful about making awkward angles with arms that still flowed and a very emotionless face – almost as if he’d fallen into that pose or been laid down after being carried. A soldier killed in battle? A heart-broken lover? I wanted the viewer to be captivated by the models beauty, but also wonder what the story is.'
Patrick is aware that not every image is going to have that kind of depth. He continues to strive for it though and hopes his images go a little deeper than just the surface of things.
'A photo should SAY something, or have a reason for being taken at least – even if it’s as shallow as carnality.'
'The honest truth is that I play at this . . . there are far, far better photographers out there than me.'
There may be better photographers, but Patrick is the first I have featured who weaves the delicate beauty, the freedom and expression of those who sore through the air, within images of the male form. Birds, like many things of beauty, are above and around us all of the time. They are always there. It is often that beauty, the beauty we see every day, that gets overlooked and lost.
See more of Patrick's work on ModelMayem HERE: