I had the word “Broken” in mind and for a photograph. I filtered several ideas in my head and decided on breaking something. It was more in line with me – instead of photographing something already broken or attempting to capture it in a facial expression or body language.
I saw the vase at a pottery vendor’s stall at the market. It was the only blue one on the table and had beautiful form and natural texture. I wanted to have it for myself, so I bought two vases—the blue one and an uglier brown one, which I thought to break.
I brought them home and put them on my photography table to contemplate. The delicate, beautiful blue vase was that part of myself that I keep safe and protected. It stays hidden, afraid of being broken. The ugly brown vase is the part that comes out. Its protection strategy is blending in and going unnoticed. It is durable, but not unbreakable. It is the one that can be sacrificed.
I have been unable to access parts of myself that I feel are there but unavailable. I feel like I am operating behind a blanket that I am unable to get out from behind. So, in a symbolic act of tearing myself open, I decided to break the thing I wanted to keep and protect. I choose to break open the beautiful blue vase.
Luiz, the handyman, was around, fixing things. I went to him for a hammer and breaking advice. Luiz was incredulous, but he is starting to get used to some of my unusual requests. He decided to help and went to get a hammer and a towel. He returned with his wife Maristella in tow to watch the spectacle. Maristella stood there the entire time, shaking her head and mumbling to herself in Portuguese. She was having a hard time believing that a vase would be smashed, and the pieces would be glued back together for a photograph.
My husband Richard came into the room and saw Luiz with the vase and a hammer. He asked what was happening. I told him. He said some words and walked off, shaking his head. Doubt was finding it’s way to me.
Luiz stood there, holding the towel with the vase. Hammer raised, he asked for the fifth time, “Are you sure”? Doubt started to creep in. Was I really going to do this? For a photograph? I don’t really have any good reason for doing this? And I’m not that good of a photographer.
That last sentence is the one that annoys me the most about my negative self-talk.
Fuck them all. I’m going to photograph. “Yes!” I said to Luiz, “for the hundredth time, break the fucking thing!”. Down came the hammer. The vase broke, and I reached for the glue to prepare for the photograph.
365 Days is my personal practise of putting out words and images each day.