Portrait Subjects Wanted !

Photography

I’m looking for London subjects for an exhibition opening in October exploring the relationship people living with long term invisible conditions (both physical and emotional) have with their pets. I’m looking for diversity in all its forms to get a really rich depiction of what it’s like to live with these conditions. Participants must be comfortable talking about the impact this has had on their lives as I will be conducting short interviews to accompany the portraits.

Please send a phone photo of yourself (a phone photo will be fine), what pet(s) you have and the area of London you live in to Naomi.Woddis@btinternet.com

If no reply by Friday August 25th please assume you have not been selected. Thanks in advance for your interest.

_DSC7908 Kitty

Living Differently – Holding the Gaze

Living Differently Project, Photography

Wall of meBack in 2013 I did an online photography course with Vivienne McMaster. Vivienne’s work encourages her participants to “discover tools that will help you to cultivate a relationship of self-compassion both through the camera and in your every day life” (her words from the website), the premise being that self portraiture can help us look at ourselves with love and lessen the hold of self-criticism. It can be a radical act to show up in front of the lens and direct that gaze, that multi-facted honest gaze towards our most bullying critic – us. We can feel the earth shift when we direct a look of love towards ourselves instead.

A year before this I began using photography as a way to deal with living with chronic illness. After feeling trapped in my body I felt an enormous sense of relief capturing what was happening to me on camera. I was both the photographer and the subject and that allowed me to explore my feelings in depth without having them overwhelm me. The camera was a tool for both investigation and validating my experience. I began my self-portrait journey wanting to record the truth and the last thing I wanted was to ‘play nice’ for the camera. As I continued my work with Vivienne I learnt how to enjoy being in front of the lens. I found out that I was a worthy a subject as anyone I had turned my camera towards.

A few years have gone by and I’m still adapting to a life I did not choose, still looking for  my own story in the midst of change. The past 6 months have been very tough and I’ve got puffy and swollen in my face. This shouldn’t matter, but it does. In an attempt to self-validate I forgot one thing – the constant passing of time. When I look at the photos above, all taken and processed on my phone, posing, pouting and beaming – I can also see someone trying hard to pretty herself for the lens. Looking at these pictures something is missing. Where is my body ? It’s no coincidence that I live with an invisible illness.  I’ve managed to hide myself from myself.

Looking  again I can see that even the most processed of them are a part of my story. Some days I let my vulnerability show, others I shine with joy and then there are the times when I feel the only choice I have is to ‘say cheese’, hold my gaze and face the world.

Re Issue – What a Dog Sees

Photography, Poetry, Re Issue

reflected-dog

Photograph – Copyright Dan Wesker 2010

What a Dog Sees

in a puddle of water
is not just his reflection
but the barks of other dogs

their yelps falling
in new rain
splashing a dance
in pre-breakfast air

sees
other paws muddy with joy
off leash

then tilts his wet nose 

towards sky
and buildings

some have bad people in them
they do not feed his brothers
and steal the wag
from happy tails

what a dog sees
are the circles
walked
by those on two legs

lack of courage
over cooked meals
unanswered telephones

so much water
and the memory of almost drowning
in his puppy paws

head cocked his ears
a net to capture
all this human chatter

and wonders what this world
would want
with all this talking


Poem – Copyright Naomi Woddis 2010

Re Issue – Thumbing the Gelt

Poetry, Re Issue

Thumbing the Gelt

I am the King of Coins,
wherever I go they listen.
I can’t resist the smell of burning,
It reminds me of home.

A coin fresh from the mint
feels like a brand new day,
a token of promises made
with double-crossed fingers.

Each wet wad is worthless
Lips speak of bribes. Each mouth
shaped by want. This
pretty paper is imaginary.

How I love that shiny gold,
a party dress dollar, each
element of a measured exchange.
I pass the time by counting

what I have. Three thieves
died of thirst in Death Valley
their dollars could not buy them water.
A cocksure wind blew 

their bucks away.
To know it is to lose it.
No one rules. But this.

© Copyright Naomi Woddis 2008

Inspired and taken from answers to the the following questions:

What is money ?
Who rules ?
How self determining are we ?

Re Issue – How Still a Body

Poetry, Re Issue

How Still a Body

I grew up in Nigeria with my grandmother.
One dawn two armed robbers were caught
in the act. Local people set on them, beating
them with whatever came to hand.

A large crowd gathered around the thieves.
One had survived the beating, blood poured
into his eye. In a deep gutter, the other
robber lay, his body bloated from the heat.

And then I knew this is how still a body
looks when it is dead. Today I heard

that in Urdu, the word for yesterday
is the same as the word for tomorrow.

And I panicked at the thought because
I could not imagine what my world would be like
if the words for then and now were the same.
Twenty years have passed since I saw

that stranger’s corpse. I keep walking this earth
hoping that home’s door will open up to me.
These words draw a circle leading me back
to my grandmother’s house; a ceaseless dying. 

© Copyright Naomi Woddis 2008

Inspired and taken from answers to the the following questions:

What image illustrates the true nature of time ?
Describe the first time you saw another person’s blood ?
What does the word home mean to you ?