Holding Pattern

This was fun.

The final result

Photo by Bryce Hudson

A friend from work, Bryce Hudson, who is a contemporary artist here in Louisville asked me to model for his latest series, Holding Pattern. He has described the series like this:

My latest series of photo-based prints is entitled Holding Pattern. My subjects are attractive women in their mid 20s to late 30s, and superimposed upon their faces are monochromatic decorative patterns, the combination of which brings to the surface ideas of symmetry, objects of decoration and femininity. This is the start of a much larger body of work that will soon appear in my paintings and ultimately installation work.

Bryce has also talked with me about a common factor with many of the models — they are of the age to marry and/or have children, but most of them have not. I’m at the age when many women are thinking about whether or not to take these steps — a holding pattern of sorts perhaps. For me the decision is made — while I’m married, I’m decidedly child-free and will hold in that pattern forever (or as long as modern pharmaceuticals work).

Bryce will work on this series next month in Beijing while he enjoys a month as an artist-in-residence through NY Arts’s Magazine contemporary art project space, NY Arts Beijing. He’ll finish and exhibit the series while there.

Photo shoot with Bryce-25

"Move the top of your head a hair this way"

Shooting this photo was interesting — ultimately over my face in the photo will be superimposed a decorative pattern. To sit for the photo shoot I had to remain perfectly aligned and couldn’t move, though the crazy bright (and hot!) lights made me twitchy.

I wondered as Bryce counted back from three (I kept my eyes closed against the light until ‘1’) if I would be symmetrical enough for the piece. I’ve read studies that found people’s perception of beauty has an awful lot to do with symmetry. And while I am more concerned that people find me intelligent, compassionate and interesting, I may never outgrow the little girl inside who just wants to be pretty. I can’t particularly tell if my face is symmetrical, but at least with the magic of Photoshop and the touch of an artist that little girl can be satisfied.

Photo shoot with Bryce-27


7 responses to “Holding Pattern

  1. Wow Dana. Tonight (as I took the very last photo for this leg of the series) I came to several conclusions… I’ll list 2 of them. 1.) That modern society has warped women’s self images to an irreparable extent and that 2.) Though I’ve had the opportunity to photograph some “beautiful” women in the past few weeks, #1 can be trumped by one’s attitude alone.

    I wish that my use of Photoshop weren’t necessary to my vision for this body of work but it is (as an artist I ask for that respect). If it weren’t, I’d be extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit “as is” which, really is perfect for it was meant to be.

    We were all meant to have wrinkles, asymmetrical faces and signs of life. That’s what’s “real” (trust me, what’s in the magazines isn’t). It’s all a sign of a life well lived, a day in the sun. Who would prefer a life of misery and surgery to a life filled with experiences (bad and good) and joy with the risk of a single laugh line.

    I’m happy to have you as part of this project for Beijing. Each individual woman had taught me more than I could ever imagine or could ever realistically process. But I’m trying. Tell that little girl that it’s only natural and that she’s supposed to grow up and… be… exactly what she is.

    I can’t wait to go to China and complete the series. I’m glad it’s been a new experience for the both of us.


  2. — “Who would prefer a life of misery and surgery to a life filled with experiences (bad and good) and joy with the risk of a single laugh line.”
    Not me! I wouldn’t trade the time my family and friends and husband have me laugh out loud, or experiences like squinting into the sun on a Swiss mountain or baking in the Mediterranean sun on a boat in Capri for a line-free face. That said I’ll still keep using my various potions that I’m pretty sure don’t actually do anything. ;)

  3. I think Dana is beautiful. It think Bryce’s work is beautiful! Congratulations on the Beijing opportunity Bryce!

  4. Obviously I can’t be objective being the source from which that beauty sprang. Not that I am taking any credit, I realize I had no control over the random genetic lottery that created the grand prize aka Dana. But it is nice to have that beauty affirmed by others, and a talented artist no less, what I have always been able to see. Good luck in Beijing Bryce and thanks for allowing Dana to be a part of it.

  5. I think you are beautiful, Dana, and I think Bryce’s project is really interesting. Will you post an update when it’s finished?

  6. Pingback: I’m finished « The Traveling McMahans·

  7. Pingback: I’m landing soon in the Holding Pattern Series « The Traveling McMahans·

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