We are all like foolish puppets, who desiring to be Kings. Now lie pitifully crippled after cutting our own strings……Randy Stonehill
How are you all going in these crazy times? I’ve been keeping myself busy by restoring furniture, decorating and generally making my home a space that suits my lifestyle. I’ve been sadly lacking that the last few years. With everything that has happened, I didn’t have the energy to make this place the way I wanted it. But with this isolation lifestyle, I’ve managed to do just that (with the help of my son)..
In between all that, I’ve started a new series of images. My friend Jenni and I were devastated when our exhibition Falling Through the Cracks was postponed due to Covid-19. Of course, I can’t have models here to shoot either so I decided to revisit other images I’ve taken and work on them. I have had a storyline in my mind for quite a while and have even shot quite a few photos for it, but never got around to really giving it time as an entity on it’s own. I can’t use that excuse anymore.
So as a series within that series, let me introduce Fragmented Fantoccini. Fantoccini means a puppet show using puppets operated by strings or mechanical devices This means so much to me for a number of reasons. First, I love puppets. I even dreamed of being a puppeteer once upon a time. I used to make sock puppets as a child but I especially loved marionettes. And wind up dolls have always fascinated me along with pullstring ones. I had a Mumma doll as a child.. When you moved it, it said Mamma in a really creepy voice, but I loved it. I was enthralled with that voice box. To me it was magic.
The other (and more serious) reason I want to do this series is all about taking control of your life. It’s so easy to allow someone, through many different circumstances, to take control of our lives. Sometimes that happens through no fault of our own, but often we allow it to take the onus of responsibility off ourselves.. Whatever the reason, it’s not the best way to live. It’s only the last couple of years that I’ve realised how often in my lifetime I have allowed others to take control of my narrative. But no more.. I have my own voice.. and it says more than Mumma.
In this series, I have been influenced by the artist Margaret Keane who is the subject of the movie Big Eyes and the photographic artist Kelly Robitaille. If you haven’t seen their work, go and have a look at them. They’re worth it. I love eyes so much that to emphasise them beyond reality is appealing to me.
So let me introduce to the first of my dolls.. Violetta (meaning purple), Clementine (meaning mild or merciful) and Aurelia (meaning golden). Until the whole story is told, I won’t tell you their backstories but trust me.. they have them.