writing

Project Status

The Work You are Supporting

If you have pledged to support me financially either through a monthly subscription, or a one off donation, then I’d like to report back to you on the status of that work - the full list of projects you support is on my website at mikestacey.com/projects

Project Status

  1. Lake Eyre Book: A book is underway containing images created during a week-long road trip to South Australia with former art model Loz Lightyear, or Lauren Michelle. None of this work has been published anywhere before

    Status: The book layout if roughly 2/3 finished. Further image selection to be completed, image post production and importantly; the choice of publisher and printer. This will require significant funding.

  2. Another book: or multiple volumes, containing a large amount of unpublished work completed with former art model Loz Lightyear, or Lauren Michelle. This included numerous artistic concepts and themes

    Status: Very recently we’ve started sorting images into categories and conceptual themes. This will allow us to begin layout design and again, selection of printer/publisher. This will require significant funding.

  3. An ongoing documentary project tracking the life of travelling model Aurora Sprengel, or @poetic_minx. The project takes candid behind the scenes look at many of the ‘unglamorous’ aspects of the international travelling model lifestyle.

    Status: Some work was completed in both Europe and USA during 2018. Further work will be shot in Thailand during February 2019. Whether this project is stills or video is yet to be decided.

  4. Multiple video projects created with former art model Loz Lightyear (Lauren Michelle). The videos have been shot but not yet edited. There is much writing and post production to do before they are completed.

    Status: As of today, we have now begun collaboration again and I have started production work one of the video concepts. Initially, I’ll select the soundtrack and hopefully complete this within the week. At present, we haven’t decided on how to publish it.

  5. Current Transgender Project: This is a stills project in collaboration with Kate Adamson. Kate’s initial draft statement is listed on the projects page - link above.

    Status: One shoot completed and most of the images have been completed. The second shoot is schedule for a week from now. I will be deciding on how to shoot it over the coming week and communication with Kate about it. Publication - some will be available in the member’s area here. This project has the potential to be exhibited.

  6. Portraits from the Edge: A book of carefully selected portraits which have been shot in a certain light with a particular style. The models were also chosen for their ability to portray the ‘feel’ required for this series, which is sometimes very present and direct, sometimes distant and engaged in their own feelings. The book will be a showcase of my finest work as a portrait photographer. I will publish a full statement soon.

    Status: All of this work has been shot and most has been edited. It’s now a matter of having available funds to create a book. The publisher/printer will most likely be the same as the above book projects. This will require significant funding.

  7. An Investigation of Censorship: Censorship of both the male and female body is now more rigid than we’ve seen in the last few decades - largely due to the sheer flood of nude and/or revealing imagery via social media. It’s a complex matter. We’re all aware of the social norm for beauty and the pressure on women to conform to that - and we’re aware of the fallout - the damaging psychological outcomes. Censorship is one device that contributes to this by essentially “shaming’ various aspects of our bodies; genitals, breasts, nipples, butts and pubic hair.

    Status: this project is in it’s infancy and as yet, I haven’t decided which arm of this very complex topic to take. Initial stills experiments have been done on myself and already published in the member’s area.

  8. Self Portraiture: Essentially I am tired of model photography. My expression requires a model though, and it is often very difficult or impossible to express my true self via another person. Hence the basis for this experimental journey using myself as subject. I have numerous themes I’d like to explore, one is sexuality; and I feel more comfortable using myself as the subject for this, than another person.

    Status: Again, this project is at an early experimental stage. I will publish work as it develops to the member’s area.

Photography - The Difficult Art

A photograph is technically a literal interpretation of what's in front of the lens. With all other art forms, there is a large component of the artist in the final work, due to the nature of the medium. Think about sculpture for instance. With photography this is much, much harder to do, simply because of the realist nature of the medium.

If I'm a painter, I can make a ton of choices in terms of how I portray my chosen subject matter. Brush type, paint type, specific colour palette, abstraction or not, etc. All these choices, and the way that I paint, become a rich part of the final work which is heavily imbued with my own artistic skill and vision. 

With a camera, when I press the shutter, the image that was in front of the lens is transferred without any intervention on my behalf, through to the film (let's stick with film, not sensors). That's what I end up with, a literal interpretation of reality. It's much harder for me to insert some of myself, and my own vision, into that image, than if I were a painter or sculptor. 

So this is the challenge and this is the one big area that separates photographers out. For good or bad, whatever, it is one of the the things that creates categories inside photography. 

Many photographers find it hard to realise what their own style is. Their efforts often go into the visual side of things - how the picture will look in terms of colour or a particular editing style. But everyone else has already done that. Pretty much every different type of look you can think of  has already been done. So how do you create work that has artistic value and also reflects who you are as an individual and an artist?

Coming from an analytical background of mathematics and engineering, that question was very hard for me to find any answer for, for many years! I still don't profess to have concrete answers but I have found ways of creating work that has 'me' in it - as far as I'm concerned anyway.

Really, this is the defining point for many photographers - to make the move away from the mainstream of their particular genre and start moving in their own direction. It's risky. Your following of regular viewers may not like you're new vision. This happened years ago when I switched from arty landscape and architectural LF work to portraiture. I lost virtually ALL of my followers - this was pre-Facebook, pre-Instagram - most of those followers were on Flickr and some on Tumblr and they just didn't like portraiture, period - or the fact that I wasn't using a LF camera anymore :) Silly business really. They couldn't see the continuous thread between that previous work and the new work. But there definitely was one.

At the time I made that transition between genres, I was asked to give a talk and presentation to a local Blue Mountains camera club. That was based on this topic of how to invest yourself in your work and create something of artistic value.

The guts of that presentation hinged around human emotion. For me, the key was finding topics and subjects that moved me in some way and created some level of emotion inside me. Whether it's awe, anger, amazement, rebellion whatever - there had to be a strong internal emotional response - or the work I produced would always lack depth and artistic value. The visual side of things is important but it's secondary to this. I had to have something to say with the work. Sounds simple but it took me ages to realise this - I kept looking toward the technical and visual side of things - new film, new camera, new lens, new technique blah, it's nothing, absolutely nothing. The development of the visual side will follow and develop of it's own accord if the emotional side is developed first - this is strictly right brain. And if you have a background like mine, there ain't no right brain in there.