As I was editing images for a new book (yay!) over the last few months, I noticed a problem – rather a big one – with the images and the story: they just did not match. The story of dislocate, which had been in my head all these years, was in trouble. I guess when you're working on a story for that long, it either has to be very big or extremely ingenious. It was neither.
I really do believe in the premise of dislocate: looking for your home, for where you belong, both literally and metaphysically. But when I started putting together the edit I had, the images just didn't match up to it. Damn, and I really thought I had it... but it just wasn't there. And worse: nobody else saw it either.
I figured I'd fallen into that old trap: I'd been trying too hard to attach the story to my images. Whatever I did, it felt forced. The images themselves were fine, mind you... but the connection to the story was weak at best.
I knew there was no turning back. The images I had made were simply about something else... and ever so frustratingly, about something that I couldn't see at that point. I felt I had lost.
I thought back about Oaxaca, Mexico, and that tiny set of images titled "I was a Dog" (I've shown them here before). They were the starting point of dislocate, literally the opening chapter of the book. Now, looking at all the new images, I felt that the old Mexico images were better at showing exactly what dislocate was all about. Heck, even the title was better. I designed a potential book cover just to prove my point:
So there I was: dislocate had to be put on hold, no other way. The real, different, story behind the new images had to be sought.
I looked and looked. I Went through countless edits and book concepts and designs, knowing full well that none of these could ever work if I wouldn't find the story first. I felt something was keeping the images together, but what? There wasn't a concrete subject (like Yakuza), there was just... a mood, a context of sorts.
My friends pointed out the same thing to me. They would say "hey, there is this particular mood in there, but what is it all about?". Jan, a great friend and super talented artist suggested that a connecting mood is all you need, and for the first time, I felt I was on to something.
This was it. The images were all about me trying to catch up with the world moving too fast around me. These images are me, reflecting on life and its fleeting moments that I try to hold on to; so that I have time to understand them better; so that I can eventually let go.
Hmm. It sounds a bit strange reading that line. I hope it'll make more sense very soon :)
The title of the book, mono no aware (a Japanese saying), came quickly after:
So there you have it... lots of turmoil inside my head the past twelve months... as a result dislocate is on hold for now... and I was a Dog will always remain its first chapter. I hope to eventually be able to fill in the other chapters.
And the images that I thought were part of dislocate, turned out to be something different entirely. A very pleasant surprise: yet another story.
Ain't life like a box of chocolates.