Laura Conomy on LUNAR
The Origins of MPA FX PhotoStudio Winning Image LUNAR
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and since I’ve had children I’ve constantly been looking for new ways to photograph them and push myself creatively. I didn’t want them to look back over their childhood and just see a number of repetitive, posed photographs at family gatherings and holidays. I wanted to capture the essence of their characters and emotions in a particular moment in time in a creative manner. With my iPhone and plenty of photo apps to choose from I am fully able to do this, wherever we happen to be at the time.
It was the summer of last year and my daughters were frolicking around and doing crazy little dances and moves. I took about 30 images that day. We were in a very hilly area and I was able to position myself on the ground looking up at them and capture an interesting perspective of them at play. They were leaping through the air, making up silly dances and best of all they were totally unaware that I was taking pictures.
It was all brilliantly spontaneous and natural. The light was fantastic, the sky had dramatic potential as a backdrop with the clouds forming all kinds of shapes. When I looked through my images I was pretty confident I had some great material. I loved the dynamics of shapes they were making with their bodies, especially against the sky. Their silhouettes and the motion I had captured were open to interpretation as there were no facial expressions and they could take on a whole range of themes.
“Lunar” came about because I felt my daughter’s jumping was rather “impish and spritely,” like a crazy character breaking free. I tend to look at an image and I call it whatever name comes into my head first and this usually influences the theme or app I might chose to explore. When I first looked at the image the name ”Puck” entered my mind and i was thinking of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I never felt I was a particularly good painter/drawer but I always have ideas for pictures. The iPhone was a godsend, it literally meant I could translate and express my ideas in a different way.
My mind meanders constantly, I rarely linger on one thought for long, so my ideas evolve constantly and I can drive myself crazy. Too many ideas and not enough time to explore them to their full potential. However, as it meandered once more, I began to think of the dream element and the moon…a transformation. I looked through some 3,000 of my images and came across one of a round light I had taken. It was very moon-like and had a glow around the edges against the darkness. I layered the two images together and my “impish daughter” looked like she was dancing in the moonlight, lost in a moon dance. I wasn’t happy with the image and went back to creating a better surface for my moon. I added texture to my moon and deepened the background for my sky. I then concentrated on my little “imp” and ran through some filters until it looked right to me.
I put a lot of thought into my images and they all have a back story. Usually they are quite dark in my mind and not as innocent as they first appear. Initially, they are of my daughters playing but I want people to look at my pictures and imagine a story. I make a point in the edit of not showing their faces, depersonalizing them in a way so anyone can relate to them. The silhouettes are ambiguous. “Lunar” can be seen as playful or as an expression of rage or lunacy. The moon can be taken at face value or seen as a symbol of transformation, a prison – a shape encapsulating the figure who wants to break free…
My daughters usually play up when they see a camera but they haven’t a clue when I use the iPhone. The shots become far more natural.
I have an artistic background but I also studied English literature and Theatre. These two subjects make me look at things in a different way, in particular how colour, shapes, and images are used symbolically. I like the dramatic and ambiguous. I never felt I was a particularly good painter/drawer but I always have the ideas for pictures. The iPhone was a godsend, it literally meant I could translate and express my ideas in a different way. Instead of sketching an idea I could actually photograph it but use the more painterly apps to do things I was never able to do technically with a pencil or paintbrush. The fact I can bring my iPhone with me anywhere is a huge advantage. I can use it discreetly as well, my daughters usually play up when they see a camera but they haven’t a clue when I use the iPhone. The shots become far more natural. It’s an accessible, affordable and fun way for me to express all my ideas.
You can read more from the STORYLINES series here