My father always had a mirror on his bureau, maybe 12’ X 12.5’. I’m not sure where the idea came from; at a young age, 4 or 5, I became obsessed with holding the mirror at my waist, looking down at the reflection and navigating my way around the house looking down at the reflection of the ceiling. Somehow this took me somewhere else. A change in perspective, a new place, a place that felt different.
Nineteen years later I would discover, or rather fall into Photography. I found looking through the lens reminiscent of carrying my fathers mirror around the house as a child. Similar to the mirror, the camera simplifies, looks directly at the subject, capturing a truth, outside noise falling away. Judgments, perceptions, things I was taught or have learned along the way are present yet somehow fall in order. I am in control; what I choose to include, focus on, and leave out of my frame. I have the ability to create something new. This Control, although partially an illusion, provides a safe point of departure. My images are often far ahead of my conscious mind. I have always been draw to clean lines, geometric patterns, structurally solid, juxtaposed with disorder even utter chaos. Somehow this combination provides me with balance. As Alan Watts said, “A tension so exact there is peace.”
I shoot with a 5X7 view camera; great as it slows me down. I love every step of the process, seeing that thing that for some reason grabs you. Shooting, unloading the film, waiting for it to be developed and getting the surprise, the negatives and contact sheets, in the mail. Then in time maybe months, maybe years, something new comes to life.
- Sarah C Butler -